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‘Vaccines, Autoimmunity, and the Changing Nature of Childhood illness’ by Thomas Cowan

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One Doctor’s Surprising Answer to the Epidemic of Autoimmunity and Chronic Disease

Thomas Cowan, MD, argues for a direct causal relationship to a corresponding increase in the number of vaccines American children typically receive―approximately 70 vaccine doses by age eighteen. The goal of these vaccines is precisely what we’re now seeing in such abundance among our chronically ill children: the provocation of immune response.

Thomas Cowan’s latest book is one I can’t wait to read. I want to understand all about autoimmunity and how our increasing insane vaccine schedule is implicated.

Cowan begins his book with a description of how when he was growing up he never heard of children with chronic illness or of children who took prescription medicines.

Many of us had horrible diets, yet chronic disease among children was relatively unknown. No one had ever heard of autism, let alone a family member with autism.

I have to agree with his childhood recollections. Children with cancer or  an autoimmune disease was unheard of in 1950s Australia.

In his work as a medical practitioner Thomas Cowan has had the experience of treating vaccinated children, partially vaccinated children and the unvaccinated. He writes that he rarely saw an unvaccinated child with any chronic illness however the same could not be said for those who were vaccinated many of whom were suffering from asthma, eczema, seizures and gut problems. This state of affairs he believes:

corresponded with the introduction in the late 1980s to the mid 1990s of certain adjuvants and excipients, as well as the introduction of ever more vaccines.

During his practice he has treated many children who had childhood infectious diseases such as whooping cough, chicken pox, rubella, mumps and measles. These children recovered well and did not develop complications.

Decades later:

1 in 2.5 children have an allergy

1 in 6  children has a developmental disability

1 in 9 children has attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder ADHD

1 in 11 children has asthma

1 in 13 children has severe food allergies

1 in 36 children has autism

He calls it ‘a national emergency’.

How did we get to such a state where we have so many sick children?

Cowan writes that the cause is environmental requiring us to do something about it. The problem as he sees it stems from the huge drop in infectious disease which ‘train the immune system’.

In writing Vaccines, Autoimmunity and the Changing Nature of Childhood Illness Cowan wanted to explain the nature of disease.

when we get sick there is a very certain sequence of events that happens: We are fine, then we get a fever, or we get hot then we get snot, and then we get better

In an interview with Dr Joseph Mercola he explains that he often wondered why disease follows this progression. His curiosity led to his researching the nature of fever along with the working of the cell and why our bodies follows this sequence of events in relation to disease.

Once you realise the wonder of this sequence of the events you can understand what happens when something is done to interfere with nature which Cowan describes as ‘thwarting of the sequence’. This is what happens in the context of vaccines leading  to chronic disease. Vaccines cause a distortion in the immune response and increases the risk of cancer.

What happens inside the body of a child who gets a new viral disease.

When a new virus enters the body it distorts the cells whereupon the body begins its attack and produces a cell mediated immune response. This system consists of white blood cells which attack the infected cells, chewing them up and spitting them out – this is ‘snot’. This process takes about 5-10 days and over this time we consider the person affected ‘sick’ and all the while the virus has promoted a cell mediated response which clears the body of the virus and dead cells and rejuvenates the cells.

The humoral system which responds by making antibodies to the virus is also activated taking place after the cell mediated response. If the child meets a particular virus again then he/she will not get sick. This production of antibodies takes place around 6-8 weeks after the infection. ‘It is almost a 100% fool proof system’, says Cowan.

These are the two parts of our immune system.

When we vaccinate there is no cell mediated immune response. Vaccines provoke an antibody reaction but because there is no cell mediated response the immunity wears off and boosters are required. Adjuvants such as aluminium are required to stimulate this antibody reaction.

Autoimmune diseases

Such as Graves’ disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.

 these diseases are characterised by an excessive antibody reaction

In autoimmunity there is non specific activation of the humoral immune system caused by the adjuvants such as aluminium.  Vaccines stimulate humoral antibodies without a prior cell-mediated response.

There has never been until about the 1940s a situation where you have the stimulation of one without the other. So that’s what happens with vaccines, the whole point of a vaccine is to stimulate the humoral immunity, the humoral antibodies without a prior cell-mediated response.

It is not enough to just put the antigen in a vaccine along with saline. To make the vaccine stimulate humoral immunity, that is to produce antibodies, adjuvants such as aluminium or other irritants such as formaldehyde and mercury are necessary for the immune system to react. These are neurotoxins and should have no place in the human body.

The diseases that are characterized by suppressed cell-mediated immunity and heightened humoral immunity, you’re talking things like asthma, allergies, eczema and autoimmune diseases including Crohn’s, colitis, MS [multiple sclerosis], Sjogren’s syndrome, Hashimoto’s, etcetera. All of these are characterized by increased antibody production – that is what we mean by an autoimmune
disease.

Cowan states that the the fastest growing type of diseases are autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases are soaring globally and together affect as many as one in five Americans today. Thomas Cowan’s  Vaccines, Autoimmunity and the Changing Nature of Childhood Illness   explains how our wonderful immune system has been ravaged by vaccines and includes chapters on treatment and diet protocols for autoimmune disease.

A must-read book on vaccines and autoimmunity and a history lesson on natural immunity that we all need to read and share.

 

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We must stop the damage from GMOs and vaccines

Untitled-3Many anti-GMO activists are convinced there is a connection between glyphosate along with genetically engineered foods, and the increasing levels of autism in children. My research has led me to put the blame for autism and other developmental disorders at the feet of the vaccine industry but in reality I think that both the biotechnology and the vaccine industries are implicated in the exponential rates of these diseases and other adverse health events.

  Jeffrey Smith is the author of Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating, and Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives. In a presentation called The Real Truth about GMO’s he speaks about how the consumption of genetically modified foods are causing all sorts of health issues such as gut problems, brain fog, allergies, skin rashes, fatigue, asthma, and autism and that these conditions improve when eating GMO food ceases. In fact, thousands of US doctors are now prescribing GM free diets.The revolution is beginning.

However a few notes on how we have arrived at this point are in order.

Tragically, Monsanto, otherwise known as the “most evil corporation on Earth” with their dirty products such as Agent Orange and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s), is in charge of our food supply. This is a company which along with Archer Daniels Midland, Sodexo and Tyson Foods were responsible for  The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009: HR 875   which gave the corporate factory farms a virtual monopoly to police and control all foods grown anywhere, including one’s own backyard

The FDA declares that testing of these novel genetic modifications is not required before they are released. Monsanto merely needs to tell the FDA that their products are safe. That is all that is needed before they are sold, and then eaten by the public.

However many studies show very real problems in animals fed GM food. One of these independent studies found that buffalo, goats and sheep in India are dying after grazing on Bt cotton plants. Those who care for the animals are also getting sick with skin rashes and respiratory issues.

Jeffrey Smith describes the production of a genetically modified organism (GMO)

A bacterium such as Bacillus thuringiensis is used to create a corn plant that is able to produce its own toxic insecticide. The Bt toxin from the bacillus makes holes in the cell walls of insects to kill them. From there the gene from the bacterium is used to make millions of copies which are shot via a gene gun into millions of corn cells – with the hope that genes find their way into the DNA of some of the cells, which are then cloned, becoming Bt corn.

Massive damage is caused to the DNA of the plant by this process of insertion and cloning in that 2-4% of the DNA is changed. This is significant, for these changes may result in an increase or decrease in the amount of proteins in the plant. The changes may also mean that some genes are shut off or that silent genes are turned on.

But did the regulators and the biotech industry look for these changes before the GM corn went on the market? Incredibly and inexcusably they did not. With the GM corn already in the food supply an independent scientist found there were 43 proteins that had changed in the process of creating the corn. One gene that was previously silent had been switched on and was a known allergen, able to cause allergy or death in the susceptible consumer. There were also other proteins that during the process of cloning had changed shape.  According to Smith such changes are important and can cause no harm or can be lethal. And yet the regulators don’t believe this experimental stuff needs testing.

This is really alarming in that greater than 90% of all soybean, cotton and corn acreage in the U.S. is used to grow genetically engineered crops. Other approved novel foods include sugar beets, alfalfa, canola, papaya and summer squash.

Of this runaway technology Jeffrey Smith claims:

We are taking the products of this immature science causing massive damage to the most compactified level of nature – the DNA.

But in the eyes of Monsanto the ideal future looks like this:

One hundred per cent of all commercial seeds would be GM and patented.

As Jeffrey Smith has said:

They are planning to replace nature. This is a pivotal time.

The main reason for genetically engineering plants is to sell more herbicide. Yes, this gamble with the very basis of life is so our food can be sprayed with poison.  Every year 2 billion kilograms of the water soluble carcinogen – Glyphosate is used worldwide. It’s in our air, in our rainfall, in the plants, our food and in our bodies.

Glyphosate binds with plant minerals so these nutrients are unavailable for the plant. In the process, plants are made deficient in nutrients and become weak and sick and so do the animals who eat the plants. We eat the crops and the sick animals and it’s no surprise that we too, fall ill. The reason it is such a successful herbicide is because it deprives the plants of nutrients and creating diseases in the soil around it.

As to how the consumption of Glyphosate affects humans…

Glyphosate blocks the shikimate pathway in our gut. The bacteria in our bodies use this important pathway to create L-Tryptophan, an essential amino acid that is so important to our well being. Mood and behaviour are improved when we switch to organic foods.

The currently accepted dogma is that glyphosate is not harmful to humans because the shikimate pathway is absent in all animals. However, this pathway is present in both human and mammal’s gut bacteria, which play a massively important and heretofore largely overlooked role in human physiology

Some actions we can take to remove our food supply from this corporate power:

  • Ensure that what we eat is natural
  • Grow our own food
  • Ask restaurants whether their food is GM. Menus are now gluten free so how about asking for a GM free menu.
  • Sharing information about GM foods and how to avoid them

And as we spread the word about GMO’s we must also protest the number of chemically laden vaccines our children now receive. In the US the number of vaccines given to children from birth to the age of 18 years is now 74 doses.

True health cannot come from a needle. Injecting people with something to try to keep them well is a 200 year mistake.

The rate of autism in the US is now 1 in 25. Of course autism isn’t the only adverse event that frequently occurs after vaccination. Chronic pain conditions, seizures, gastro-intestinal disorders, arthritis in its many forms, diabetes and infertility are among the huge and ever growing list of side effects.

SPN-Gardasil CoverA vaccine that has the highest number of adverse events of any vaccine is Gardasil the HPV vaccinethat is marketed as preventative against cervical cancer even though there is no proof that the vaccine has ever prevented a single case of cervical cancer in the world. Brian Hooker, father of a vaccine-damaged child speaking in Vaccines Revealed calls it:

A dirty vaccine…loaded with aluminium. Aluminium doesn’t belong in the human body.

But in spite of the fact that there are now over 81,000 recorded adverse events following the administration of Gardasil the manufacturers are trialling it on babies. This sadly is true. We urgently need to turn this around.

But not before a new cohort of 12-13 year-olds are injected with the latest HPV vaccine. Gardasil 9 has 5 more antigens and more than twice the amount of aluminium per shot than Gardasil.

From the start of this school year Australian teenagers will be injected with Gardasil 9 replacing the quadrivalent Gardasil.

Lack of safety studies on Gardasil 9

In 2014 the US FDA approved the use of Gardasil 9 for females ages 9 to 26 years and males ages 9 to 15 years for prevention of vulvar, vaginal, anal, and cervical cancers. Gardasil 9 is marketed as protective against nine HPV types: 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

Even though the vaccine is new, the approval by the FDA was completed without the usual review given by the VRBPAC (the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee). The committee is responsible for reviewing and evaluating the safety of vaccines and other health products.

letter to the FDA from Marion Gruber, Director of Office of Vaccines Research and Review CBER gives the reason for their decision:

 Our review of information submitted in your BLA (biologics license application) including the clinical study design and trial results, did not raise concerns or controversial issues which would have benefited from an advisory committee discussion.

But there is much evidence to suggest that this review needed to be done. Rather than use an inert placebo such as normal saline, Gardasil 9 was compared directly to the quadrivalent Gardasil in two of the studies. A comparison with Gardasil is hardly reassuring for there have been thousands of adverse events and hundreds of deaths  following its administration.

These are 2 very different vaccines. Gardasil 9 has 5 more antigens than the quadrivalent Gardasil. Also in Gardasil 9 the HPV antigens 6, 16, and 18 have been increased.

Gardasil                                   Gardasil 9

How do the changes to the number and strength of the antigens affect the recipients of this new vaccine?

Increased amounts of the aluminium adjuvent

Gardasil 9 contains 500 mcg of aluminium per dose. This is more than double the amount of aluminium contained in a dose of Gardasil which has 225 mcg.  It is alarming that this huge amount of aluminium is to be injected into young bodies. This is because aluminium causes the body to turn against itself. This is what we are seeing in many of the girls who have had their lives severely affected after their Gardasil shots.

One of the severe adverse events is premature ovarian failure in young teenage girls. POF occurs due to the destruction by aluminium of the maturation process of the eggs in the ovaries. Shockingly this condition is underreported at the present time because many girls are on the contraceptive pill but once they stop the damage will be obvious. This is very serious, more infertility and loads of heartache to follow.

Disturbingly the aluminium adjuvant in these vaccines does not require clinical approval. Gardasil and Gardasil 9 contain amorphous aluminium hydroxyphosphate sulphate (AAHS) a new form of aluminium which causes the immune system to become 104 times more powerfully stimulated than would occur naturally. It is important to be aware that this HPV vaccination program continues despite the fact that there is no scientific proof that the vaccines have ever prevented a single case of cervical cancer. And the adverse events continue to increase after administration of the HPV vaccines.

In FDA approved Gardasil 9: Malfeasance or Stupidity?  researcher Norma Erickson has examined the Gardasil 9 package insert where she found that the rate of serious adverse events in the trials of Gardasil 9 was 2.3 %. This means that for every 100,000 people who are given Gardasil 9 there will be 2300 serious adverse events and yet the cervical cancer rate in the US is around 7 women per 100,000. Talk about insanity!

And that’s not all she found when she examined the insert package. During the trials 2.4% of the recipients developed an autoimmune disorder which means that 2400 people could now be suffering from new diseases just because they had this new Gardasil 9.

And there’s more to be learnt about the development of autoimmunity. Norma Erickson explains the process of molecular mimicry as it applies to Gardasil in a presentation Humphries/Erickson – What Biologically Plausible Mechanisms of Action are Health Agencies Ignoring? Within the many proteins found in our bodies there are 82 peptides. One of the antigens in Gardasil, the HPV 16 LI protein, almost identically matches 34 of these peptides. The importance of this information is as Erickson explains:

It is extremely possible that when you develop an antibody to the HPV 16 protein you are also developing an antibody reaction to your own system in multiple locations. The number of viral matches and locations makes the occurrence of autoimmune cross reactions in the human body following HPV 16 vaccination almost unavoidable.

We need to keep protesting the under-reported tragedy that is the theory and practice of vaccination. Our recent ancestors managed to live healthy lives without genetically engineering their food supply and over vaccinating their children.

Let’s turn this around.

This article was first published by Collective Evolution

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Deformed fish, sick kids, but for some it’s a ‘risk that’s worth it’

Four hundred and thirty-seven million hectares of Australia is covered by coal seam gas licences or applications, and 20 billion litres are needed every year for the coal seam gas industry, stated Sydney right-wing radio broadcaster Alan Jones when he appeared in Frackman, an Australian feature-length documentary film which follows the exploits of former construction worker turned anti-fracking activist, Dayne Pratzky responding to the expansion of the coal seam gas industry near Tara, Queensland. Continue reading

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Connecting the Dots: Autism, Glyphosate and Vaccines

Screen shot 2015-03-15 at 12.29.37 PMThe autism rate was estimated to be 1 in 10,000 in 1970. The most recent figures from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has the rate now at 1 in 68 and by 2025 according to a senior research scientist at MIT, half the children in the US will be diagnosed with autism.

In Seed Sovereignty, Food Security: Women in the Vanguard, a new book edited by Screen shot 2015-03-15 at 12.10.57 PMecofeminist, and author Vandana Shiva, contributors to the anthology, Zen Honeycutt and Stephanie Seneff warn of the dangers that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and related pesticides present to the health of children.

Zen Honeycutt is the founder of ‘Moms Across America: shaking up the system’ a national coalition of ‘Unstoppable Moms’ committed to empowering others to become educated about GMOs and the need for labelling laws and healthy alternatives such as organics. Moms Across America report that:

Allergies are up 400% in our children. Asthma affects 1 in 8. Autism has increased 1500% over the last 20 years. Twenty three and a half million Americans are now suffering with auto-immune diseases. Diabetes in teens has quadrupled in ten years. Colitis in children has tripled and Crohn’s disease is up 79% in ten years. Cancer is the number one killer of children in America today.

So what is causing such frightening health outcomes? ‘Moms Across America’ tested breastmilk and found it was contaminated with the weedkiller Roundup. The highest level of Roundup was 1600 times greater than allowed in drinking water in Europe. Glyphosate-containing herbicides are the top-selling herbicides in the world and are sold under trademarks such as Monsanto’s ‘Roundup’. Monsanto’s sales of Roundup jumped 73 percent to $371 million in 2013 because of its increasing use on genetically engineered crops (GE Crops).

The U.S. has a high percentage of its farmland controlled by the GE crops industry, with many varieties of GE soybeans, GE corn, GE cotton and others, whereas Europe has only allowed one GE Crop – Monsanto’s MON810 maize – which is still not grown in most EU states due to health and environmental concerns.

In her chapter ‘Autism and Glyphosate’, Stepanie Seneff ‘connects the dots’: The interactions between autism, glyphosate and vaccines. Stephanie Seneff is a computer scientist who transitioned into biology and toxicology and has been studying autism for over 7 years, along with the environmental factors that lead to the disease. She points to decreased exposure to sunlight, poor diet, vaccines, as well as glyphosate toxins as causing the skyrocketing rates of autism. The active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide ‘Roundup’ is glyphosate which kills all plants except the genetically modified RR corn, soy and other plants that have been genetically augmented with a special bacterial gene. Seneff reports that the US government is doing little to monitor the amount of glyphosate found in common foods because it is conveniently believed that glyphosate is harmless to humans. But nothing could be further from the truth!

Monsanto claims that glyphosate is safe because humans don’t possess the biological pathway that the herbicide disrupts in plants- the Shikimate pathway. However our gut bacteria do have a shikimate pathway and we have millions of good bacteria in our gut which are essential to our health. Our gut bacteria supply us with amino acids that are precursors to the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, melatonin and adrenaline, plus thyroid hormone, folate and vitamin E.  Many of these molecules have been shown to be deficient in children with autism. We are now learning how important gut bacteria is to our health with autism often linked to ‘leaky gut syndrome and food intolerances, the severity of which is linked to the severity of autism.

The fact that there is a correlation between the rising number of adverse effects from vaccines and the increasing amount of glyphosate used on corn and soy crops has not escaped Seneff who has come up with a plausible explanation. This being that glyphosate enhances the toxicity of aluminium. Aluminium is added to vaccines to enhance the immune response to the antigen in the vaccine – that is the vaccine is more likely to ‘take’ if there is aluminium present. Childhood vaccines such as the Triple Antigen, Hepatitis A&B, Gardasil, Hib ( haemophilus influenza), and PVC (pneumococcal pneumonia) contain aluminium which is known to be toxic to the brain and can result in seizures, infection, cellulitis, depression, insomnia and death.

Seneff notes that insomnia has become a huge problem throughout the US population recently. She explains that aluminium accumulates in the pineal gland, the gland which produces melatonin which in turn is responsible for the wake-sleep cycle. The negative effect of the aluminium along with the presence of glyphosate in our systems and its ability to enhance the effect of aluminium, and you have the perfect recipe for the interference in the supply of  melatonin.

Glyphosate interferes with the synthesis of new haem (the component of haemoglobin responsible for binding oxygen) which is no longer functional because aluminium has displaced iron at the core of the haem molecule. Secondly, glyphosate interferes with the production of melatonin because melatonin’s precursor is tryptophan, a product of the shikimate pathway that glyphosate disrupts. Lastly glyphosate affects the cells’ ability to make sulphate needed for the production of red blood cells – the pathway already disrupted by the presence of aluminium.

In conclusion, Stephanie Seneff urges more research into the connection between glyphosate and autism adding that should her hypothesis be confirmed, glyphosate should be banned from agricultural use.

Seed Sovereignty, Food Security: Women in the Vanguard, is a unique international offering on an issue of critical importance today, and demonstrates how women as activists, scientists and scholars are at the forefront of shaping new scientific and economic paradigms to reclaim seed sovereignty and food security across the world. Women in the North and South are leading movements to change both practice and paradigm: how we grow and transform our food. As seed keepers and food producers, as mothers and consumers, they are engaged in renewing a food system that is better aligned with the ecological processes of the earth’s renewal, the laws of human rights and social justice and the means through which our bodies stay well and healthy.

In this blog I have focussed on two contributors to this fine anthology. This is because Stephanie Seneff and Zen Honeycutt focus on the health effects of industrialised food systems on children which is an issue of real concern to me. Growing up in the 1950s there was no epidemic of autism; children didn’t have chronic diseases. We really have to turn this around.

There are many wonderful chapters in this book. Women from the Global North, such Susanne Gura write on the Seed Emergency in Germany, along with US political activist Winona LaDuke who praises the leadership of Indigenous women. From the Global South, health and women’s rights activist Farida Akhter reports on the Seed Freedom and Sovereignty in Bangladesh today, and Australian author Susan Hawthorne argues for a ‘wild politics in which multiversity of knowledge, biodiversity in nature and eco-social systems of justice’ abound.

Oh, for that time to arrive!

Seed Sovereignty, Food Security: Women in the Vanguard is published in Australia by Spinifex Press

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Cheap berries – their true cost

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 3.27.26 PMAs fearful consumers rush to their freezers and toss out their bags of frozen berries in the wake of the current hepatitis A scare, it’s high time to take a good look at why these berries, dubbed ‘superfoods’ have become so popular and why such importation is problematic beyond the threat of hepatitis A.

Just call them the “blue dynamos,” writes Angela Haupt. ‘Blueberries’, she argues are packed with manganese, an energy-boosting mineral and vitamin K, which helps build bones. Haupt quotes research which suggests that a blueberry-rich diet improves motor skills and helps fight diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. The worried-well can scarcely resist getting their hands on their daily dose of these powerfully marketed commodities. In fact this summer, supermarkets have been using berries as a draw card into the fruit and vegetable section and industry leaders say demand is outstripping supply. But does the hype stand up to scrutiny?

Madonna loves coconut water, Michelle Obama rates sweet potatoes, and Gwyneth Paltrow can’t get enough of quinoa, writes Her research into the superiority or otherwise of ‘superfoods’ has led her to Susan Jebb, new professor of diet and population health at the University of Oxford, who asserts: “Evidence that any one food has specific effects on long-term health is lacking and usually more to do with PR and celebrity endorsement than scientific evidence of the kind that would be required if a drug was to make such claims. She claims that superfoods aren’t unhealthy and are good to eat but they rarely live up to the hype. Doctor and science journalist Michael Mosley, thinks that  blackberries and blueberries are good for the brain, but he agrees that many superfoods are generally overrated. “The most important thing is a rainbow diet, lots of different colours on your plate so you are getting lots of different phytonutrients, he says. Also berries aren’t unique in containing high levels of beneficial phytonutrients. Other foods including berries, fruits, vegetables, and even black tea contain generous amounts of antioxidants, including vitamins and polyphenols.

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 3.17.44 PMWhen seeking good nutrition it’s important that food should be as fresh as possible, since the vitamin and mineral content tends to fall with storage. The answer is fresh local food-fruit and vegetables preferably grown in our local areas from organic seed. The other good piece of advice is to eat seasonal produce. When the berries are in season eat them and enjoy them. There are many other beautiful fruits in winter such as oranges and apples and a huge array of vegetables packed full of phytonutrients. We really don’t need to have mangoes and watermelon and berries all year round.

Screen shot 2015-02-20 at 3.15.56 PMWe now know that a growing number of people have been diagnosed with hepatitis A after eating frozen berries imported from China. Latest reports are that thirteen people in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia have become ill. As hepatitis A is transmitted by the “faecal-oral” route, this means either that people have handled the berries with contaminated hands transmitting the virus, or the contamination may have occurred because the water used in the processing may have been contaminated with sewage.

This unfortunate episode highlights the absurdity of buying berries from China when we grow them in Australia. Australia recently became a net importer of processed food, this being aided by the high Australian dollar, high domestic overheads and wage costs.

Then there’s the food miles such imported food must travel. According to the food miles calculator the berries from China to Australia have travelled 5599 miles (9008km) as the crow flies. And there’s very little chance of this situation changing with the Australian government signing an increasing number of free trade agreements and with the potential for more food contamination. It is ironic that these unfortunate people seeking to eat healthy foods have become ill with hepatitis.

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2.1 billion spent on Boxing Day sales

 

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It’s hard to believe that people are shopping again today. What on earth do they want to buy? What is enough I wonder?

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Raw milk madness!

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The Herald Sun has reported that a three-year-old Mornington Peninsula child has died and four other young children have become seriously ill in recent weeks after drinking unpasteurised milk  sold in Victoria. The reports of this death and injuries were accompanied by screaming headlines in both large font and capital letters KILLER MILK, and the next day Cosmetic milk controversy: State in grip of toxic milk madness.

Let’s put this death into perspective. Was it the consumption of the raw milk that caused the child’s death? Was this a healthy child or was the child already unwell? Where are the mainstream stories that question this assertion?

Raw milk is sold in health food shops across the country as bath milk for cosmetic purposes although everyone knows that it’s really being bought to be consumed, not bathed in. The Herald Sun found the raw milk in health stores in Malvern, Carlton, Fitzroy, Balaclava, Thornbury, Elsternwick, Albert Park, Box Hill and Belgrave. As to the benefits of drinking raw milk: A new study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, has found that raw milk can actually help prevent colds, viruses and respiratory tract infections from forming in kids, as opposed to commercially processed milk which provides little or no health benefits.

The reporting of this story is a great example of over reacting, a classic case of media sensationalism done in the pathetic endeavour to sell more copy. And there are major ramifications: Already there are calls to ban the sale of raw milk. Even the Federal Government has weighed in and is saying it’ll crack down on the ‘killer’ bath milk and Daniel Andrews, the new Premier of Victoria says he’s not satisfied with the regulations surrounding the sale of raw milk.

Fortunately large numbers of raw milk drinkers have contacted the Herald Sun saying that they will continue to drink it because they believe that raw milk is healthier. And it is! Raw milk is unpasteurised milk straight from the organically pasture fed cow. Raw milk contains the delicate enzymes and essential bacteria which are destroyed with pasteurisation. It is the lack of these natural enzymes in pasteurised milk which makes it indigestible for many people.

For thousands of years, raw milk nourished and produced generations of strong, healthy humans. But now it’s illegal to sell nature’s real milk, the raw product and that is why raw milk  is being sold under pseudonyms such as Aphrodite’s bath milk or Cosmetic milk and found in health food stores  all over the country.

The story of why raw milk became illegal has its origins in the early years of the 19th century in USA which saw a rapid growth in the population with immigrants making their way to the cities. These new arrivals wished to access milk but with the cities a long way from the farms and lacking the transport and refrigeration this was no easy task. So they made do with the milk that was produced in the cities – a far from healthy product. Around this time the whisky industry was booming and the waste product of the distillery was swill or slop which was fed to cows that were conveniently housed next to the whisky distilleries. This waste product of the distilleries was obviously not a food that cows generally ate but it made the cows produce a lot of milk. These cows were sick, crowded, dirty, poorly nourished and forced to spend their short lives chained in one place, handled and milked by, often, very unwell people who poured the milk into dirty containers and sold it to the unsuspecting public. Very soon and not surprisingly the death rates of infants and children soared and it was generally recognised that there was a “milk problem”.

At this time microbiology was in its infancy. The belief in this new science which recognised germs and microbes as the cause of all illness, led to the call for pasteurisation, or heating, of milk to make it free of any potentially harmful bacteria, regardless of how it changed the quality of the milk. As the media and governmental spin continued, dairies found it easier to go with pasteurisation than to clean up their acts.

The mainstream media are once again negligent in their reporting of this young death and the alleged link to raw milk. Was this child healthy? Did he die from the consumption of raw milk? According to the vendors of raw milk in the municipality of Darebin there is no evidence that the very unwell child who died, died as a direct result of raw (bath) milk consumption.The milk that was tested found a toxin, not a bacteria. This toxin can be found in lots of other places.

Our food is increasingly processed and devoid of essential minerals and trace elements – goodness really. Pasteurisation of milk destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer.

A ban on raw milk is a knee- jerk reaction to media hype and shouldn’t take place!

 

 

 

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Our world in transition

Petra White wrote this evocative poem, published in The Age on Saturday October 11

A History of the Siege

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Dark days are here.

Nothing can stop them,

they crowd like hair around the temples,

everyone knows

and now we can say, at last, it is dark.

On Manus, they are walking along fine edges of themselves,

under a borrowed moon, a borrowed sun.

Nobody follows them, they would lead

only to an end of the world.

When was it darker than this?

Oh it was darker.

And the darkness is genuine,

our fingers have been dipped in it, it is felt

by all who would feel.

Where does it come from?

Us, in our masses, the massing cloud?

Our politicians, they who balance us

in their thready hands, and then plunge portions

of us and them into the pit?

Up there, a human form lies over the land.

 

I really appreciate this poem; it speaks of our world today.

Our dark times was the subject of a recent article by Joseph Camilleri, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at La Trobe University, in which he wrote: 

We appear to have reached one of those extraordinary moments in history when people everywhere, communities and even entire nations, feel increasingly stressed and vulnerable. The same may be said of the planet as a whole.

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Last night I attended the second of Joseph Camilleri’s  public lectures called Rethinking the Future. His topic:  Coping with Risk and Uncertainty: Volatile Markets, Anxious States and Tentative Social Movements. He described our world as one in transition where people, goods & services, capital, technology, arms, information, images, carbon emissions, and viruses move across borders at ever increasing scale, speed & intensity. Such rapid transition, he claimed creates certain risks and stresses experienced by people, communities and the planet. We’re familiar with the stresses and we also understand that these will only get worse.

But what was really disconcerting was his assessment of our governments’ abilities to handle the many crises facing us – describing this as very limited. You can give up any hope that those in power will come to their senses and govern ethically with concern for the wellbeing of the planet and its inhabitants. For they are accustomed to finding themselves trapped between competing pressures and maintain the tendency to overstate certain dangers and understate others. For example: The Australian government’s overreaction to refugees and on the other hand its understating of the need to act on climate change. We witness this happening of course but it is good to have it explained, and more debate and discussion on this state of affairs can only be a good thing.

So where is any change or agitation to come from? During the lecture we were reminded of the wonderful social movements that graced our lives in the 1960s and 70s: feminism, student activism, gay liberation, civil rights, peace activism, and environmentalism.  Such movements:

  • politicised technological change
  • called into question the legitimacy of the state, its decision making processes, and in particular its inability to manage risks to life, health, security and identity
  • insisted on bringing ethical considerations into bureaucratic and technical discourse
  • Expressed a new conception of space & time

These social movements are still in existence but are less visible and less active. They are unlikely to gather sufficient numbers to force change.

Joseph Camilleri concluded rather optimistically that though the future will be difficult, all is not lost; dynamic knowledge remains, our technical skills enable greater transparency and accountability, and there is increasing disenchantment with politics and business as usual.

This is a good sign although disconcerting as unrest is sure to ensue as the public sector shrinks and with it diminished access to public health, housing, and a healthy, happy environment.

Bring on the revolution!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Constancy and tranquillity are trashed in our market-driven world

Are you sick of this market-driven world? You should be, writes George Monbiot.

These words speak to those of us who feel at odds with life.

I live across the road from a new housing development, the creation of which has disrupted my tranquil mornings, my peaceful days, and heightened my angst with ‘the self serving con of neoliberalism’ that Monbiot claims has eroded the human values the market was supposed to emancipate’. The 300 new dwellings have no gardens to speak of  and are cluttered so closely together that any semblance of privacy will be nigh impossible. Human values and common courtesy have no place in the rush to transform this once quiet green neighbourhood. Both young and mature gum trees have been sacrificed to this altar of greed where  bulldozers and excavators fire up at 7 and don’t stop until tea time. But it will be all worth it in the end, won’t it? Mass produced, shoddy dwellings for 1100 more residents – whatever it takes!

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On my nature strip I have a large tree – a constant feature and the provider of ample shade in the hot summer  months. Without consulting me, the construction company dug a deep hole  around the tree exposing its roots in order to access infrastructure. Calls to the company resulted in mere excuses that the work is delayed and the backfill of the tree is not imminent. Although the council arborist has assured me the tree will not suffer, I am not so sure and have taken photos of the tree in its splendour and again in its present state- with its roots dangerously exposed. Constancy and tranquillity are trashed in our market-driven world and as a result I am at odds with the world and not ashamed to say it.

My angst is common, for it is now recognised that we are witnessing a time in history when individuals, communities and countries are becoming increasingly stressed and vulnerable.  Writing for The Conversation Professor Joseph Camillleri  asks:  Is a vulnerable world teetering on the edge of a new Dark Age? And how do we explain the long list of financial, environmental and humanitarian emergencies, epidemics, small and larger conflicts, genocides, war crimes, terrorist attacks and military interventions? Why does the international community seem powerless to prevent any of this?

He explains that a new cold war is in the making amidst our costly military interventions in the middle east . But our unease about endless wars and the future of humanity are not shared by those whose dominant narrative is that of market fundamentalism. Many seek to do very nicely out of our intervention in Iraq once again. Stock prices for Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman set all-time record highs last week as it became increasingly clear that President Obama was committed to a massive, sustained air war in Iraq and Syria. In fact, It’s nothing short of a windfall for these and other huge defense contractors, who’ve been getting itchy about federal budget pressures that threatened to slow the rate of increase in military spending.

Monbiot reminds us that : The market was meant to emancipate us, offering autonomy and freedom. Instead it has delivered atomisation and loneliness. I don’t envy my new neighbours who are buying into the housing development and taking out huge mortgages they can ill afford. Screen shot 2014-10-01 at 6.15.12 PMTheir massive houses are surrounded by concrete, they have no cooling gardens. There will be little time to walk in the park , most will spend the best years of their lives working at meaningless jobs that do little to foster humanity. It’s no wonder so many of us feel at odds with the world.

Monbiot offers reassurance as he writes:

So, if you don’t fit in, if you feel at odds with the world, if your identity is troubled and frayed, if you feel lost and ashamed – it could be because you have retained the human values you were supposed to have discarded. You are a deviant. Be proud.

 

 

 

 

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First do no harm

Screen shot 2014-04-18 at 5.27.23 PMHomeopathy was recently back in the headlines. This time following a major review of the practice by the National Health and Medical Research Council that found that there is no reliable evidence that homeopathy can treat health conditions. Homeopathy is a 200-year-old form of alternative medicine and its worth has long been debated.

While I don’t know much about homeopathy and whether it’s effective or not, I do know that there is a lot wrong with modern medicine.

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