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Meat: We Don’t Need It, We’re Just Addicted To It

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Have you ever thought about why so many people eat meat? It’s been scientifically proven that it’s better for our bodies to get our protein from plant-based sources rather than meat, yet the average American eats 200 pounds of meat per year. Meat and dairy consumption are linked with numerous health risks including cancer, heart disease, obesity and more; however, the U.S. government and many medical doctors (MDs) support the false ideology that people need to consume a specific amount of meat and dairy products to maintain a healthy diet.

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We are exposed to corporate and government propaganda encouraging us to consume meat and dairy products starting at a very young age. We are mislead to believe that animal products are healthy for our bodies and a necessity for growing children.

I believe that over-consumption of meat is a direct result of psychological conditioning. This would provide an explanation for why people have difficulty accepting the environmental and health risks associated with the meat and dairy industries and why people consider giving up animal products to be both mentally and physically exhausting.

How the Government and Corporations Created our Addiction to Meat

The USDA Food Guide Pyramid states you should eat 2-3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese as well as 2-3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, & nuts per day. Walter Willett of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University states, “Individuals can be very healthy with no dairy consumption at all;” however, according to the USDA guidelines that’s incorrect, despite the fact that only 75% of people can actually digest milk properly. So, where did the disconnect occur between the government and science?

During World War 1, the U.S. government started producing mass amounts of canned milk so they could be shipped to troops overseas to fight malnutrition. After the war ended, demand for milk plummeted and the country was left with enough milk to feed an army (literally). Instead of reducing production, the government decided they invested too much money into expanding dairy operations to let it go to waste so they started convincing consumers to buy more.

“Milk education” became standard practice in schools, which was eventually extended throughout the entire nation by way of advertisements such as the multi-million dollar “Got Milk?” campaigns. The USDA, the same governing body that creates dietary guidelines, also helps form partnerships with restaurants to develop heavy-dairy menus. Check out this video that elaborates on the government’s ties to the dairy industry here.

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The USDA has a similar relationship to the meat industry, which is clearly illustrated in the Food Guide Pyramid. The protein section of the pyramid only lists different animal products and nuts, completely omitting many plant-based protein sources. The USDA has heavy ties to many advertisements and campaigns encouraging consumers to purchase meat. The U.S. government spends $38 billion annually to subsidize the meat and dairy industries, in comparison to only 0.04% of that on fruits and vegetables. If the government didn’t benefit from meat and dairy sales, our recommended intake of animal products would look significantly different.

Why Don’t We Stop the Addiction?

Study after study has proven that it’s terrible for our bodies, yet the animal agriculture industry continues to thrive. I believe this is because people have difficulty integrating knowledge because they aren’t directly relating it to themselves. You can tell someone “you might get cancer if you consume this product,” but until they actually get diagnosed with cancer and feel their body getting sick, they refuse to listen.

In addition, I believe people dissociate meat from the actual animals themselves, which has caused an increase in consumption. When our ancestors killed animals, it was seen as a spiritual sacrifice, one that was deeply appreciated and viewed as necessary. Now, consumers can simply purchase meat from a store without having to watch the animals suffer in order to get it and it’s completely unnecessary for survival. If everyone had to murder the animals themselves, I don’t think as many people would eat meat. This disassociation has become apparent through multiple social experiments performed by animal activist groups, Buzzfeed, Cowspiracy and more. If you were told you had to kill an animal every time you wanted to eat meat, would you agree to do so?

In discussing this subject, many people feel that since meat is a normal part of their lives, they cannot eliminate it from their diets. This often becomes apparent among older generations, as they’ve been eating animal products for longer. If you fall victim to this, ask yourself: are you even still eating meat in comparison to what it was years ago? Meat is now mass produced through factory farming and pumped with hormones and antibiotics. Animals are fed their own fecal matter and GMOs and suffer constant emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

If you consider all of this combined with the fact that most of these animals have been subject to selective breeding, are you still eating the same meat that was served on plates 50 years ago? This video actually illustrates how an entire generation of Americans have never tasted real chicken because they’re so used to the factory farmed versions.

Why You Need to Cut Down Your Meat Intake

Harvard University researchers recently published a study in JAMA Internal Medicine, which examined the association of animal and plant protein with mortality rates and causes as well as longevity of life. Researchers studied approximately 130,000 people for 36 years, monitoring their diet, lifestyle, illness and mortality. The study found that by switching a small amount of processed red meat for plant protein, participants reduced their risk of early death by 34%. It’s not just meat that’s the issue; by substituting plant protein for eggs, researchers found a 19% reduction in risk of death. Even just a 10% increase in meat intake was linked to a 2% higher mortality rate and 8% higher risk of death related to cardiovascular issues.

Harvard has studied the risks associated with consuming meat extensively. Other research performed by Harvard University found that even eating small amounts of red meat, especially processed red meat, on a regular basis has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and dying from cardiovascular disease or any other cause in general.

Certain meats are also known to cause cancer. Numerous studies have proven that replacing animal protein with plant protein is not only healthier for your body, but it could even reverse the harmful effects of eating meat. (source)

Another more well-known study is The China Study performed by a Professor at Cornell University, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, PhD. In the study, Campbell used the traditional criteria to decide what is a carcinogen (in regards to animal-based proteins) from the government’s chemical carcinogenesis testing program. The study showed that animal protein is very acidic, thus the body takes calcium and phosphorus from the bones to neutralize the acidity. You can read more about this here.

According to Dr. T. Colin Campbell, “What I did during the early part of my career was nothing more than what traditional science would suggest. I made the observation that diets presumably higher in animal protein were associated with liver cancer in the Philippines. When coupled with the extraordinary report from India showing that casein fed to experimental rats at the usual levels of intake dramatically promoted liver cancer, it prompted my 27-year-long study The China Project, of how this effect worked. We did dozens of experiments to see if this was true and, further, how it worked.”

Related articles for more information:

9 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Meat

Plant- Based Protein VS. Protein From Meat, Which One Is Better For Our Body? 

Why Dairy Is Scary For Ours Bodies

Milk advertisements often state that dairy is healthy and can help strengthen bones, which couldn’t be further from the truth. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that dairy consumption may increase the risk of bone fractures by 50 percent. This study was performed by Harvard Pediatrician David Ludwig, who emphasized that bone fracture rates are lower in countries that do not consume milk compared to those that do and stressed the importance of getting calcium from plant sources instead of dairy.

Calcium is a mineral found in soil. Animals get their calcium by consuming calcium-rich plants, so why would you consume an animal’s milk when you could go straight to its source?

Rosane Oliveira, DVM, PhD, explains, “If you eat a relatively low-calcium diet, your body will adjust. Studies show that when fed a relatively low-calcium diet (415 mg/day), our intestines become more efficient at absorbing calcium, and our kidneys conserve it better. Equally, when overfed with calcium (1,740 mg/day) our bodies adjust as well: our intestines block the calcium absorption, while our kidneys eliminate more. This is an example of how our bodies protect us: if not eliminated, the excess calcium would get deposited in our soft tissues (heart, kidneys, muscles, and skin), making us vulnerable to illness and even death… a true testament to how smart our bodies really are!”

In addition, dairy milk is filled with antibiotics, hormones, puss, blood, and other ingredients your body should not be consuming. These issues are seen across the meat industry as well, especially because almost every single dairy cow ends up being killed for its meat anyways.

Still not convinced that dairy is scary? Check out this short video that sums it up beautifully here.

How Do We Cure Our Addiction To Meat? 

Many of us feel the need to eat meat, even if it’s at a subconscious level as a result of psychological conditioning. So, why not cure yourself of your addiction by giving your body exactly what it wants? There are numerous cruelty-free substitutes for burgers, chicken, bacon, and other animal products that are capable of satisfying your cravings.

In fact, science can now prove it. World-famous chef, David Chang, recently crafted a veggie burger which contains Heme, the molecule that makes meat addictive and taste “so delicious.” The molecule was recreated by Impossible Foods by fermenting yeast, so it’s completely cruelty-free.

Chief Financial and Operations Officer at Impossible Foods, David Lee, explains, “The Heme is natural and identical, down to the molecular level, to what is consumed from a cow. A cow uses plants and turns them into meat. We use plants and turn them into meat.” (source)

There have been similar innovations in creating dairy-free milk that is molecularly similar to cow’s milk as well. As demand increases, more and more companies are developing these cruelty-free products. A Canadian study found that over the past 5 years, the country experienced a 189% increase in new products making a “vegan” claim. According to Stats Canada, consumption of beef per capita decreased by 25% from 1999 to 2015 and consumption of pork per capita fell from 30.09 kilograms in 1999 to 22.63 in 2015 (source). The U.S. experienced similar decreases in regards to red meat and total meat consumption and an increase in veganism as well.

Final Thoughts

To be clear, I don’t think that consuming meat and dairy substitutes is the only way to transition to a vegan or vegetarian diet. I am vegan and although I enjoy imitation meat products, I do not feel the need to consume them very often. I don’t think veganism is a short-term trend, I think it’s a way of living that more people are starting to adopt. However, it’s clear that every body is different, so you need to listen to yours and eat what makes you feel best! That being said, there’s no doubt in my mind that if you transition to a plant-based diet and overcome your addiction to meat, you will feel better.

 

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Alternative News

Dogs Can Detect Lung Cancer With 97 Percent Accuracy

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Early detection provides the best opportunity for lung cancer survival; however, lung cancer is difficult to detect early because symptoms do not often appear until later stages. Dogs were able to help solve that issue.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do we use animals for experiments? Unless they are willing and have a loving home and are provided for, animals should never be used as lab rats or for scientific purposes. What makes us think we have the right to do that?

Animals are a precious gift to humanity, and we have so many lessons to learn from them. If you were an empathetic, benevolent alien looking down on planet Earth, no doubt you’d be heartbroken at and terrified of the way we treat animals. We slaughter them by the billions, destroy their homes, experiment on them, and worse. That being said, the ‘good’ side of humanity loves animals, and there are a lot of activist efforts out there that are speaking up for those who do not have a voice, not to mention the ever growing movement promoting a plant-based diet. We are making progress.

Another important point regarding animals is the fact that we know so little about them. We think we know, but the truth is we don’t know, and there is so much more to discover, especially with regards to certain abilities they may possess like clairvoyance, precognition, telepathy, and other types of extra-sensory perception that human beings may have dormant within them as well.

I recently came across a study regarding three beagles successfully showing that they are capable of identifying lung cancer by scent, which is the first step in identifying specific biomarkers for the disease. The researchers hypothesized that their abilities may lead to the development of a new type of cancer screening method that is fairly inexpensive. Although we still need more research on the factors in our environment that are causing cancer in the first place, this is still great to see.

However, it’s only great if these animals are not being used solely for the purpose of study and are living happy and healthy lives because, as you may not know, beagles are the dogs most commonly used for scientific experiments, which are cruel and inhumane. At the end of the day, animals should not be used for such purposes. They are here as our companions, as part of our human family.

These dogs were able to tell the difference between blood serum samples that were taken from patients with malignant lung cancer and health controls with, as the study points out, 97 percent accuracy. The double blind study was published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Thomas Quinn, the lead author of the study and professor at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, said, “We’re using the dogs to sort through the layers of scent until we identify the tell-tale biomarkers. There is still a great deal of work ahead, but we’re making good progress.”

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Again, I can’t help but wonder: Do these dogs have families? Are they being loved and cared for? Or are they simply being used for lab experiments? The thought of that is heartbreaking, and it makes me not even want to support or write about a study like this, but I couldn’t find any details about the lives of the dogs.

It sounds like they are simply ‘lab rats,’ given the description of the study, but again, we don’t know. They were led into a room with blood serum samples at nose level. Some samples came from patients with non-small cell lung cancer; others were drawn from healthy controls. After sniffing a sample, the dogs sat down to indicate a positive finding for cancer or moved on if none was detected.

“Samples from 10 donors (6 women and 4 men) were used in the testing phase. Their ages ranged from 26 to 80 years (mean, 58.2 years). The samples from female donors (mean age, 64 years) came from 3 black women, 2 white women, and 1 Hispanic woman. The samples from male donors (mean age, 49.5 years) came from 2 black men, 1 white man, and 1 man of mixed race. Canine No. 1 indicated a positive sample on 10 of the 10 cancer samples and 1 of the 40 control samples during his test runs. Canine No. 2 indicated a positive sample on 10 of the 10 cancer samples and 0 of the 40 control samples during her test runs. Canine No. 3 indicated a positive sample on 9 of the 10 cancer samples and 2 of the 40 control samples during her test runs. (From study).”

A Few Words About Cancer

I often become frustrated at the bombardment of “cancer awareness” advertisements, or when I see the Heart & Stroke Foundation serving processed meats at their fund raisers. In many cases, the companies raising money for cancer research are putting out products that are causing the problem in the first place. Why do we constantly raise money for cancer research and become so emotional and “patriotic” about ‘finding a cure’ and ‘fighting cancer’ without ever acknowledging the causes of cancer? Why do we see advertisements of cancer patients fighting cancer in order to entice us into donating? Why do people proudly fight cancer and go through conventional treatments without ever being aware of alternative, more successful and effective treatments? What is going on here?

When it comes to cancer awareness, all of us should really be tweeting and posting about environmental pesticides, electromagnetic radiation, processes foods and meat, unhealthy lifestyles, sugar, emotional baggage, trauma, stress, and several other factors that are clearly causing cancer.

Why is it that there are only a couple of accepted treatments for cancer that oncologists are legally able to recommend?

There are so many head-scratchers when it comes to cancer, and any cancer awareness efforts should be bombarded with ‘f**ck glyphosate,’ and things of that nature. That would be REAL cancer awareness.

The Takeaway

Animals are not to be used as experiments, but I wanted to present this info simply because, as I mentioned earlier, there are so many amazing, good, positive things about them. Their abilities go far beyond what we know, and when it comes to dogs in particular, they are nothing but of service to others. If you have a dog, you know what I am talking about, and in many cases they already know things about you and your biology that you may not be aware of, unless you are really in tune with them.

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In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

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Awareness

Real Salt, Celtic Salt and Himalayan Salt

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    This article was originally written by Dr. Mark Sircus, Ac., OMD, DM (P) (acupuncturist, doctor of oriental and pastoral medicine) and published at Greenmedinfo.com. Posted here with permission.

  • Reflect On:

    Do you know the difference between refined salt and unrefined salt?

This is what real salt looks like—we all know what regular white salt looks like—and we mistakenly think it is real salt when it is not. The fact is that refined white salt, such as commercial table salt is bad, very bad stuff. Unrefined natural salt on the other hand is good, very good stuff providing many health benefits.

Unrefined sea salt is healthy. The blood-pressure-raising effect of table salt can be due to its high content of sodium with not enough magnesium to balance it. This has a magnesium-lowering effect that can constrict the arteries and raise blood pressure. Real salt (of various kinds) contains plenty of magnesium and other important minerals, which is why it usually does not affect blood pressure in a negative way.[1]

Sodium is an essential nutrient required by the body for maintaining levels of fluids and for providing channels for nerve signaling. Some sodium is needed in your body to regulate fluids and blood pressure, and to keep muscles and nerves running smoothly.

Without appropriate amounts of sodium, your body may have a difficult time cooling down after intense exercise or activity. When the body is hot, you sweat. If you do not have enough sodium, your body may not sweat as much and you may then become overheated. This could result in a stroke or exhaustion as well as dehydration.

Sodium is an energy carrier. It is also responsible for sending messages from the brain to muscles through the nervous system so that muscles move on command. When you want to move your arm or contract any muscle in your body, your brain sends a message to a sodium molecule that passes it to a potassium molecule and then back to a sodium molecule etc., etc., until it gets to its final destination and the muscle contracts. This is known as the sodium-potassium ion exchange. Therefore, without sodium, you would never be able to move any part of your body.

Excess sodium (such as that obtained from dietary sources) is excreted in the urine.[2]Most of the sodium in the body (about 85%) is found in blood and lymph fluid. Sodium levels in the body are partly controlled by a hormone called aldosterone, which is made by the adrenal glands. Aldosterone levels determine whether the kidneys hold sodium in the body or pass it into the urine.

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Dr. David Brownstein weighs in heavily on this matter saying, “Nobody makes a distinction between unrefined and refined salt. They ‘lump’ all salt together as a bad substance. This is a terrible mistake. There are two forms of salt available in the market place: refined and unrefined. Refined salt has had its minerals removed and has been bleached to give it the white appearance that we are accustomed to seeing with salt. It is the fine, white salt that is available at almost any restaurant or grocery store. Refined salt has been bleached and exposed to many toxic chemicals in order to get it to its final product. It has aluminum, ferrocyanide, and bleach in it. I believe this refining process has made it a toxic, devitalized substance that needs to be avoided.”

Link to book: http://www.drbrownstein.com/Salt-Your-Way-to-Health-p/salt.htm

“Unrefined salt, on the other hand,” Brownstein continues, “has not been put through a harsh chemical process. It contains the natural minerals that were originally part of the product. Its mineral content gives it a distinct color. The colors of unrefined salt can vary depending on where it is taken from. This is due to the changing mineral content of the various brands of salt. It is the minerals in unrefined salt that provide all the benefits of this product. The minerals supply the body with over 80 trace elements needed to maintain and sustain health.

Furthermore, the minerals elevate the pH (correct acidity) and lower blood pressure. Our maker gave us salt to use in our diet—unrefined salt—with its full complement of minerals. It should be the salt of choice. It is a vital ingredient that needs to be part of everyone’s diet.”

Dr. Brownstein says, “Years ago salt manufacturers decided that pure white salt is prettier than off-white salt and that consumers prefer pretty white salt. So they started bleaching it. They also added anti-clumping agents to increase its shelf life. The problem is that the chemicals added to keep salt from absorbing moisture on the shelf interfere with one of salt’s main functions: to regulate hydration in your body. The sodium chloride in table salt is highly concentrated, denatured, and toxic to your body. Ever put salt on an open cut? It burns!!!

Refined salt has the same effect on internal tissues and causes a negative reaction: your body retains water to protect itself, and your cells release water to help dilute, neutralize, and break down the salt. This loss of water dehydrates and weakens your cells and can even cause them to die prematurely. Natural sea salt is far superior to chemically-treated iodized table salts as it contains all 92 trace minerals, and it’s only 84% sodium chloride while table salt is almost 98%”.

All this adds up to one thing. Table salt, whether marine or not, is toxic—it’s poisonous to the body and is responsible, in great part, to the onset of many terrible diseases including thyroid and metabolic dysfunction.

In addition to sodium and chloride, Celtic Sea Salt® provides other nutrients that naturally occur in salt beds, including trace amounts of calcium, magnesium potassium, iron and zinc.

In accordance with standards set by The World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, independent analysis indicates that levels of heavy metals are non-detectable (e.g. arsenic, cadmium, mercury) or well below published safe limits in Celtic Sea Salt®. Perhaps most importantly, Celtic Sea Salt® is not exposed to refinement and bleaching used to manufacture typical table salt and there are no additives. Celtic Sea Salt® is harvested from the ocean using the sun, the wind and shallow clay ionizing ponds, a method passed down through the generations.

Many Americans over consume refined salt by eating processed foods, fast foods and canned foods with salt added. Celtic Sea Salt® is a good alternative as part of a healthier diet. Recommended use is a half teaspoon per day.

Himalayan crystal salt that is mined 5,000 feet deep below the Himalayan mountain range was subject to enormous pressure over millions of years and is over 99% pure. The higher the amount of pressure the more superior or excellent the state of order within the crystalline structure of salt. Many Himalayan salts are sold cheaply but are collected from higher up near the tops of the Himalayan Mountains instead of from the deeper mines. These salts contain more impurities, do not have the same structure and are not as easily assimilated by the body.

Himalayan salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements in ionic state and is a delightful pink color. People often state that they use less of this salt than of other types. Many sizes are available from 3 oz in a salt grinder to larger 1-kg bags (2.2 lb). Salt chunks are also available for making your own “sole,” which is a saturated solution of purified water with Himalayan salt. A specific recipe (see below) must be followed to make sole and results in a solution that has much less sodium than just adding salt to water would have. Daily use of sole is believed to stimulate the peristalsis of the digestive organs, balance the stomach acid, support the production of digestive fluids in the liver and pancreas, regulate the metabolism and harmonize the acid-alkaline balance.

Start Each Day with a Healthy Sole

The ideal way to use Himalayan Crystal Salt is in the form of a sole (so-LAY). Drinking the sole when you awake each morning is like getting up on the right side of the bed. It provides the energizing minerals you need daily to recharge your body, and it helps set the stage for a day of vitality.

Essentially, a sole is water saturated with Himalayan Crystal Salt. The sole contains about approximately 26 parts of salt to 100 parts of water. Prepare the water and salt combination in advance (see directions to the right). Each morning place a teaspoon of the sole mixture in a glass and fill with 8 ounces of pure spring water. Drink it immediately or sip it while getting dressed, checking emails or preparing breakfast. The water helps transport the electrolytes throughout the body to all the many places they are needed.

How to Prepare Sole

Sole is a mixture of water and salt. The object is to saturate the water with dissolved salt so it can’t hold anymore. You’ll know that you’ve created sole when there are undissolved salt crystals in the water. You can’t oversaturate the water with salt. The crystals will simply drop to the bottom of the container.

Place several Himalayan Crystal Salt stones or Himalayan Crystal Salt granules about an inch deep in a glass container. (A canning jar works well.)

Cover the salt with two to three inches of pure, spring water. Let the salt dissolve for 24 hours.

If all the salt dissolves in 24 hours, add more salt to the container. The sole is finished when the water can no longer dissolve the salt and the salt crystals drop to the bottom of the container. There will always be salt crystals in the jar. It doesn’t matter if you have only a few crystals or many. The water is saturated and is now sole.

Cover the container to prevent the water from evaporating. Since salt is a natural preservative, the sole will keep forever. It can’t spoil or go “bad.”

The vibrational energy of the Himalayan Crystal Salt remains in your body for 24 hours.

A teaspoon of sole contains 480 mg of sodium, or 20% of the Daily Reference Value of 2400 mg based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Redmond Real Salt is mined in the United States and is another good unrefined salt that I also recommend. It can be used as a table salt and for cooking and is available in coarse and fine grinds and in a variety of sizes.

Real Salt comes from a mineral rich salt deposit formed by an ancient sea in Utah. It contains 62 trace minerals, and is without additives, chemicals, or heat processing of any kind. Real Salt’s unique pinkish appearance and flecks of color come from the more than 60 naturally occurring trace minerals. The result is a delicate “sweet salt” flavor that you may not have experienced before.

Special Note: I was very disappointed to hear Dr. Max Gerson’s daughter Charlotte Gerson saying, “That sodium is never good, never in any form!” I have put Gerson in the best light in my writings and his organization does hold the high ground for organic raw juicing but there are some things they say that have no grounding in medical science or clinical reality. Talk to Dr. David Brownstein and he will tell you that often the first thing a patient needs is water and salt but its real salt not table salt he is talking about and prescribing for his patients.

I have written a full essay addressing this communication from Charlotte. And I have another essay on using seawater as a medicine and that will be seen in my Treatment Essentials book that is now finished and ready for publication on the 15th of February. To even think of discounting the medical miracles from the sea, which Charlotte is clearly doing, makes me shudder.


Resources

  • [2] These processes in the body, especially in the brain, nervous system, and muscles, require electrical signals for communication. The movement of sodium is critical in the generation of these electrical signals. Too much or too little sodium therefore can cause cells to malfunction, and extremes in the blood sodium levels (too much or too little) can be fatal – http://www.medicinenet.com/electrolytes/article.htm

For more info from Greenmedinfo, sign up for their newsletter, here.

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AMA Says Mature 12-Year-Olds Can Consent to Vaccination Without Parents

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At the recently concluded annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) in Chicago, AMA delegates adopted a doozy of a new policy. The powerful trade group agreed to develop model legislation that pressures state legislatures into allowing minors to “override refusenik parents on vaccination.”

In 2000, the Supreme Court reasserted the fundamental right of parents to oversee the care, custody and control of their children, a right recognized by states until children reach age 18. Where vaccines are concerned, the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act—passed in 1986—legally requires health care providers to distribute vaccine information materials to the parent or legal guardian of any child to whom the provider intends to administer a vaccine “prior to the administration of such vaccine” [emphasis added].

Does it trouble the AMA that its pronouncement goes against legal precedent as well as social custom? Apparently unconcerned about “chipping away at parental rights,” AMA representatives are gung-ho about the organization’s new policy position. Not only do they want minors as young as 12 to be able to consent to vaccination regardless of their parents’ “flawed beliefs”—while still expecting parents to pay for the vaccines—they also believe that doctors should be the ones declaring a child “mature enough” to consent to vaccination. A question that anyone familiar with the AMA’s history should be asking is, why would we trust the AMA to make such vital decisions in parents’ stead?

… one-fourth of the AMA’s total revenues were CPT-related [the medical services coding system]—representing double what the organization received from membership dues. This gigantic conflict of interest, according to the Forbeseditorialist, makes the AMA more a tool of Washington’s interests than those of doctors.

Outsized influence

The AMA’s membership has been plummeting in recent decades. A 2011 analysis of its membership “woes” estimated that the Association captures just 15% of practicing doctors, down from 75% in the early 1950s. The AMA’s membership challenges do not mean that the organization lacks clout, however. In fact, the AMA has a variety of potent tools at its disposal to ensure that it “remain[s] relevant at the national level.” These include a political action committee and a vast lobbying war chest (with upwards of $20 million spent in 2018), all of which translates into outsized influence over both health care policy and public perceptions.

A 2016 report on Capitol Hill lobbyists rated the AMA one of the top “movers and shakers” in Washington, ranking among the “select few [that] have shown an ability to get things done.” A former AMA president modestly admitted as much, stating that “What the AMA does, and does best, is in the advocacy arena.” An analysis of the top 20 health care lobbyists found that the AMA ranked the highest in terms of “all-time spending” and ranked number five in spending “among all lobbyists, regardless of industry.”

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The lobbying firms that the AMA hires are often the same as those used by the pharmaceutical industry. The AMA Foundation’s roster of high-level Corporate Roundtable members consists almost entirely of pharmaceutical industry members—including the four companies that manufacture all childhood vaccines in the U.S. (Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Sanofi). Drug company advertising also dominates the pages of the AMA’s flagship journal JAMA, even though many are “the very same drugs that are…killing tens of thousands of Americans each year, according to senior drug safety researchers at the FDA.” Nor does the AMA hesitate to provide a “seal of approval” for products and drugs—earning sizeable advertising fees—“despite the fact that the organization has no capacity to test such drugs.”

In 2011, Forbes pointed out that the AMA reaps huge financial rewards through its Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) medical services coding system, used by health care providers, payers, and facilities across the U.S. Given the CPT system’s importance to large public programs such as Medicare, the system essentially amounts to a “government-granted monopoly” and AMA “windfall.” In 2010, one-fourth of the AMA’s total revenues were CPT-related—representing double what the organization received from membership dues. This “gigantic conflict of interest,” according to the Forbes editorialist, makes the AMA “more a tool of Washington’s interests than those of doctors.”

The AMA also has a sordid history of racketeering. Economist Milton Friedman wrote some years ago of the AMA’s concerted attacks on chiropractors and osteopathic physicians, and in a 1987 antitrust lawsuit brought by chiropractors, the judge agreed that the AMA had conspired “to contain and eliminate a profession that was licensed in all fifty states.” The judge also decried the Association’s “long history of illegal behavior.” In the early 2000s, the courts again found the AMA (along with managed care companies) guilty of racketeering through manipulation of the AMA’s coding software.

Did the zealous school nurse who recently administered a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to an 11-year-old boy without parental consent—while telling the mother that all he got was an ice pack—follow “legal, ethical, and professional guidelines”?

Undermining parents

Efforts to circumvent parents’ involvement in their children’s health care have been underway for quite some time, notably in the reproductive health arena. For services related to contraception and sexually transmitted infections, health providers are only too happy to shout down parental objections, arguing that young people’s need for confidential medical services is “more important” than parents’ right to be informed of their child’s condition.

Now, researchers are laying down the train tracks to make the same case for vaccines. In 2014, top-tier adolescent health experts described parental consent as a “barrier to vaccination” and called for “strategies that increase the ability of unaccompanied minors…to receive vaccines within the context of legal, ethical, and professional guidelines.” Did the zealous school nurse who recently administered a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to an 11-year-old boy without parental consent—while telling the mother that all he got was an ice pack—follow “legal, ethical, and professional guidelines”?

AMA critics argue that the organization has spearheaded a push for a “totalitarian medical pharmaceutical police state” almost since its inception in the mid-1850s. While such rhetoric is strong, it seems clear that on vaccine issues, the AMA is only too willing to stake out a draconian policy position. After the AMA announced its intent to ignore parents’ wishes, one conservative writer underscored the contradictions: “So while individuals need to be 21 years old before they are allowed to drink, and 18 years old before they are allowed to purchase cigarettes and elect a president, children at any age can make a decision to partake in vaccinations, regardless of the associated risks, of which there are enough to warrant the need for a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.” Legislators tempted to jump on the AMA’s bandwagon might want to think twice before throwing parental rights under the bus in such a cavalier manner.

Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. CHD is planning many strategies, including legal, in an effort to defend the health of our children and obtain justice for those already injured. Your support is essential to CHD’s successful mission.

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