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Why We’re Not Anti-Vax, And Why We All Need To Stop Choosing “Sides” In The Vaccine Debate

You asked for it, and we’ve answered. Here’s our official stance on the “vaccine debate.”

Michelle Blair

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Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

We often post articles on the potential health risks of certain vaccines and the ingredients within them, and in turn we receive a lot of comments and messages claiming we’re pushing an “anti-vaccine agenda.”

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People will see an article title on the CE website or our Facebook page that conveys an issue with a particular vaccine, such as our more recent article titled “If You Have a Teenager You Should Be Concerned: Big Pharma Was Just Caught Lying About the HPV Vaccine,” and then immediately categorize us as being “anti-vaxxers.”

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Many of us identify as being anti-vaccines, just as many people identify as being anti-abortion, anti-religion, anti-war, anti-establishment, or whatever else we actively state we are staunchly, or sometimes blindly, against.

One of the issues with identifying with these labels is that whenever we take this approach, we’re often coming from a place of anger and hatred. All of a sudden, we allow our personal beliefs to trump science and the truth because they’re so heavily fuelled by our desire to express our personal opinions or be “right.”

Though it’s important to stand up for what you believe in, it’s equally as important to remain detached from those beliefs so they can change and adapt as we, as a collective, grow and evolve.

With that, we’d like to clarify our “stance” on vaccines. Collective Evolution is neither for nor against vaccines. We do not identify as being anti- or pro- vaccines, we are simply pro-informed choice, pro-science, and pro-humanity. We do not choose sides, because there should be no “sides” to choose from in the first place.

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Each vaccine is extremely different, posing different health benefits and risks, and to lump them all into one group just so we can label ourselves as being pro- or anti- vaccines will not help us progress as a society or help to advance science.

Just because vaccines have served us in the past doesn’t negate the fact that many of them pose some very serious health risks. Likewise, just because one vaccine poses severe side effects doesn’t mean that all vaccines pose the same health hazards.

When did we start letting our own personal beliefs and desire to choose a “side” trump scientific evidence?

Why We Need to Stop Identifying as Being Pro- or Anti- Vaccines

Maybe you’ve been asked which side of the debate you’re on, or maybe you’ve just noticed the growing number of people who claim they’re pro- or anti- vaxxers. The fact of the matter is, by choosing sides, we’re taking attention away from the science and increasing division.

When we label ourselves as anti-vaccines, we may start to only believe and research the problems within the vaccine industry, ignoring the benefits they’ve provided us in the past and confusing specific side effects of certain vaccines as being applicable to all vaccines. Likewise, when we claim to be “pro-vaccine,” we start to ignore the very real health risks associated with many vaccines.

Jennifer Margulis, PhD and co-author of the book The Vaccine-Friendly Plan, made an excellent point in questioning why it is that we don’t call someone anti-antibiotics if we question some of the safety issues associated with them or choose not to take them, yet if we raise health concerns over vaccines, we’re suddenly labelled as “anti-vaxxers.”

Some of the ingredients in certain vaccines have been proven to pose serious health risks, yet when we ask our doctors or even our peers about them, they often become defensive. These questions aren’t meant to hurt their feelings or threaten the medical field, but rather advance it. If we know that certain ingredients in vaccines can cause serious allergic reactions, side effects, autism, or even death, why are we just turning a blind eye toward them?

Doctors are also scrutinized for speaking out about vaccines, or categorized as “anti-vaxxers” for simply questioning the CDC’s aggressive vaccine schedule for every single child, regardless of risks, side effects, and standard of living. Children are also categorized as being unvaccinated when their parents decide to choose which vaccines they receive based on what diseases they’re at risk for and what side effects each vaccine presents. Even when they do receive some vaccinations, just not all, they’re deemed unfit to be around their peers.

Dr. Paul Thomas and science journalist Jennifer Margulis further elaborate on this subject in the following video:

This isn’t about right or wrong, nor should it be about pro- or anti- vaccines, but rather science. We rarely advance ourselves without making mistakes and altering the way we do things until we’re successful, and science isn’t any different. So, why is it that so many people ignore the studies that prove the potential side effects of certain vaccines? Why are so many people so quick to shut down the claims of concerned parents, or worse, families who have experienced vaccine injuries firsthand?

Actress Jenny McCarthy was one of those concerned parents, as her child became autistic after being vaccinated. Jenny took matters into her own hands and cured her child’s autism using a bio-medical plan and detoxing her child from the heavy metals all of us are so often exposed to, including those within vaccines. McCarty raised an excellent point in a CNN interview (which you can watch here), suggesting a huge reason why the medical community denies the scientific evidence against some ingredients in certain vaccines is because vaccines are profitable.

This may not be much of a surprise to many, as Big Pharma is a money-making machine that typically puts profit before people. Doctors get paid to push drugs onto us, not to help us get off them and cure us. You can even figure out exactly how much your personal doctor gets paid to sell you drugs (read more about that in our CE article here). This isn’t a conspiracy, it’s the very basic motive of a profitable business, and Big Pharma represents very big business. 

In addition, we need to stop lumping all vaccines into one giant “vaccine category.” Vaccines are all very different, which is why so many of them exist. You don’t just get one vaccine and get all of the health benefits and risks associated with them. Each vaccine has different ingredients, meaning they have different properties and side effects as well.

It doesn’t make sense to be pro- or anti- vaccines for the sole reason that vaccines aren’t all the same, so we shouldn’t support or oppose every single one of them for the exact same reasons. 

There’s no war against vaccines, there’s just concerned parents, scientists, and human beings coming forward to question ingredients within these shots. So, what exactly are people so concerned about?

Evidence of Different Vaccines Posing Severe Health Risks

First of all, the correlation between vaccines and autism is very real, despite what many doctors, news outlets, and government organizations state. A study published by Dr. Brian Hooker, PhD, in the peer reviewed journal Translational Neurodegeneration, found up to a 340% increased risk of autism in African American boys receiving the Measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. You can read more about this specific study in our CE article here.

Another study published in the International Journal of Toxicology outlines the biological plausibility of mercury’s role in neurodevelopmental disorders. It suggests that early mercury exposure could increase the risk of autism.

The Division on Autism and Development Disabilities even published a scientific paper on the potential link between mercury and autism, stating:

To sum up, there has been a great deal of information from different studies that seems to indicate that repetitive mercury exposure during pregnancy, through thimerosal, dental amalgam, and fish consumption, and after birth, through thimerosal-containing vaccinations and pollution, in genetically susceptible individuals is one potential factor in autism.

Of course, that doesn’t mean every case of autism is caused by vaccines, but there’s certainly enough evidence to suggest there is a correlation between autism and some vaccines, and that  this clearly deserves further research.

Plus, there are many studies that suggest there is no causal link between autism and vaccines, but those don’t negate the studies that have found one. It’s just very clear that more research needs to be conducted, and that we need to stop blindly denying scientific evidence just because it threatens our current belief systems.

In fact, the Italian court has recognized that the MMR vaccine has caused autism in the past. In one case, the Italian Health Ministry admitted the MMR vaccine specifically caused autism in a 9-year-old boy. You can read more about that case in our CE article here.

paper published in 2012 by Dr. Stephanie Seneff, Senior Research Scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, argues severe adverse reactions to the chemicals (like aluminum) within vaccines are linked to life-threatening conditions associated with the heart and brain. The paper goes on to argue there is a relationship between autism and acute adverse reactions to vaccinations, particularly in regards to the MMR vaccine.

As Dr. Seneff explains:

Using standard log-likelihood ratio techniques, we identify several signs and symptoms that are significantly more prevalent in vaccine reports after 2000, including cellulitis, seizure, depression, fatigue, pain and death, which are also significantly associated with aluminum-containing vaccines. We propose that children with the autism diagnosis are especially vulnerable to toxic metals such as aluminum and mercury due to insufficient serum sulfate and glutathione. A strong correlation between autism and the MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) vaccine is also observed, which may be partially explained via an increased sensitivity to acetaminophen administered to control fever.

If there’s any aluminum present in these vaccines — it’s not in the MMR vaccine, but is added to most others — that could present many issues. A paper published by Professor Christopher Shaw and Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic of the University of British Columbia showed vaccines with aluminum adjuvants increase the risk of developing autism, autoimmune diseases, and neurological problems later in life. A demonstrated neurotoxin, aluminum is the only approved adjuvant in the U.S. Its use presents the risk of brain inflammation, autoimmunity, and other adverse health consequences.

study published in the International Journal of Medicine revealed flu vaccines may result in inflammatory cardiovascular changes and increase risk for serious heart-related events, like a heart attack. The study states:

Together with an inflammatory reaction, influenza A vaccine induced platelet activation and sympathovagal imbalance towards adrenergic predominance. Significant correlations were found between CRP levels and HRV parameters, suggesting a pathophysiological link between inflammation and cardiac autonomic regulation. The vaccine-related platelet activation and cardiac autonomic dysfunction may transiently increase the risk of cardiovascular events.

Not to mention the flu shot is filled with tons of chemicals we shouldn’t be putting into our bodies anyways. Your body is likely strong enough to fight a common cold, and if it’s not, then you should focus on building your immune system without harming your body with this type of vaccination. Plus, the effectiveness is slim to none, as many people still get the flu even after being vaccinated. You can read more about the flu shot in our CE article here.

Perhaps the most controversial vaccine out there is Gardasil, the HPV vaccine that has caused some very serious reactions in teenagers, including death. You can read more about HPV vaccine injuries and deaths in our CE articles here and here.

A huge controversy regarding Gardasil is its claim that it can prevent cervical cancer, which turns out to be less than true. Dr. Dianne Harper is one of a select few specialists in OB/GYN (in the world) who helped design and carry out the Phase II and Phase III safety and effectiveness studies to get Gardasil approved.

Since Harper’s involvement in getting Gardasil approved, she has condemned the vaccine, stating that it is neither safe nor effective. She exposed that the tested length of the efficacy of the vaccines in preventing HPV infection is not long enough to prevent cervical cancer, which, as she states, can take decades to develop. She has also stated that vaccination will not decrease the number of cervical cancer cases, but a routine of regular pap smears will.

Of all the women who get an HPV infection, approximately 70% of those will clear that infection all by themselves in the first year. You don’t even have to detect it or treat it. Within two years, approximately 90% of those women will clear it all by themselves. By three years, you will have 10% of that original group of women left who still have an HPV infection, and 5% of this 10% will have progressed into a pre-cancerous lesion.

So, “now you have that small group of women who have pre-cancerous lesions and now let’s look at that moving into invasive carcinoma. What we know then is that amongst women with . . . [pre-cancerous] lesions . . . it takes five years for about twenty percent of them to become invasive carcinomas. That’s a pretty slow process. It takes about thirty years for forty percent of them to become invasive cervical carcinomas.” (source)

Despite all of this information on the risks of Gardasil and vaccine deaths as a result of getting them, you still have this massive fear campaign spearheaded by Big Pharma aimed at concerned parents, convincing them that HPV can cause cancer.

Another serious issue with vaccines in North America is the recommended vaccine schedule itself. Many parents completely support all of the vaccines administered to their children; their concerns lie within the schedule on which their children receive these shots. The timeline is very aggressive, lumping multiple vaccines into a short timeframe.

Many doctors have spoken out about the necessity of altering each child’s vaccine schedule to fit their own needs based on each individual kid’s risk factors. For example, Dr. Paul Thomas stated:

Until a large doubleblind study comparing unvaccinated children with vaccinated children is done, we cannot rule out the current American vaccination schedule as a contributing factor in autism. My own clinical experience has shown that waiting until age 3 is safer and healthier for children, significantly reducing the chance of neurological and immunological damage that may be triggered by this vaccine.

Dr. Thomas also suggests his patients follow “a slower, evidence-based vaccine schedule that calls for only one aluminum-containing shot at a time.” When you compare the current vaccine schedule in North America to those in other countries, even more medically advanced ones, they vastly differ.

Many people attribute this difference to Big Pharma’s stranglehold over the U.S. government, which would make sense. Big Pharma plays a huge role in the medical community and the drug approval process, and often strong-arms the government into shifting the law in their favour. This begs the question: Is the current vaccine schedule what’s good for our kids, or what’s profitable for Big Pharma?

If you’d like to read more about vaccine safety, check out the following CE articles:

The Top 6 Reasons Why Parents Should Never Be Forced To Vaccinate Their Children

If You Have A Teenager You Should Be Concerned: Big Pharma Was Just Caught Lying About The HPV Vaccine

Flu Vaccines in Pregnancy and Childhood: What You Need to Know

Pediatric Vaccines Market To Become Worth More Than $40 Billion USD Globally By 2022

New In Vivo Studies Find Most Common Vaccine Ingredient – Alhydrogel (Aluminum) – In Distant Organs & The Brain

What Bill Nye Gets Wrong About Vaccines & Alternative Medicine

Final Thoughts 

The general purpose of a vaccine is to provide immunity against one or several diseases, which is really awesome. What’s not awesome are the potential side effects associated with some of the ingredients added to these vaccines, and the rapid timeline on which they’re administered to American children.

It’s not about demonizing doctors or vaccine makers, it’s about shedding light on some of the potential dangers of specific vaccines and their ingredients. Your doctors aren’t all out to get your children, they’re simply following the recommended schedule as stated by the CDC. It’s important to remember that your doctors aren’t in school anymore, either. They’re not constantly being educated about the newest discoveries in the medical industry, which is why it’s so important to do your own research.

We’re not suggesting you become your own doctor, but rather, to at least be aware of the potential issues related to certain medical practices, including vaccinations, so you can ask your doctor the right questions. If your doctor doesn’t know how to answer your questions, or refuses to, then perhaps you need to find a new doctor!

Even if you do educate yourself on all of the advantages and risks associated with each vaccine and you choose to vaccinate your child with however many shots, that’s fine too. We’re not telling you not to get vaccinated, we’re simply encouraging people to make informed decisions and trying to empower people to feel confident in asking any questions they have to their doctors so they can make the best choices for their families.

We encourage you to stop choosing sides and look at issues from a more well-rounded, unbiased perspective. When we choose sides, we often ignore the evidence that’s stacked against us because we feel an emotional connection to our viewpoint. Take politics, for example; people choose to be “left” or “right” winged, and all of a sudden they start blindly defending their party and ignoring the issues within it.

Just look at the last election: So many people literally denied Hillary Clinton’s crimes and wrongdoings because they so badly wanted Trump to lose. The same is happening within the vaccinations debate: anti-vaxxers forget that not all vaccines and their makers are evil, and pro-vaxxers blindly deny scientific evidence that suggests vaccines could be harming us.

It’s not about expressing hatred toward the medical industry, either. Science has helped us advance significantly over the past century, allowing us to live longer and healthier lives. However, the medical industry has never been, and probably will never be, perfect. We make mistakes and try controversial treatment methods, all in our search for medical treatments.

Just look at psychiatry. We used to lock pretty much anyone up in psychiatric wards and literally torture them. We used electroshock therapy and performed lobotomies as psychiatric treatments, and although those were cruel, they helped psychiatry get to where it is today.

When it comes to vaccines, there’s no denying they’ve played a significant role in progressing our health to where it is today. However, we’re living in a very different time, and the science clearly suggests some of these ingredients are not healthy for our bodies.

So, are we going to keep inspiring division amongst ourselves by choosing sides and continue to bury our heads in the sand when it comes to the health risks of vaccines, or are we going to actually accept and admit there’s a problem here? Remember, there should only be one side when it comes to the vaccine debate, and that side is science. 

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Lebanese Hospital Becomes The World’s First To Go 100 Percent Vegan (Food)

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CE Staff Writer 7 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A hospital in Lebanon has become the first in the world to adopt a completely vegan menu.

  • Reflect On:

    Are people aware of the physical and emotional torture the majority animals we eat go through? Are people aware that a diet free of animal products can be very beneficial for human health. Are people aware that animal agriculture is destroying Earth?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

At the beginning of March, Hayek Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon became the first hospital in the world to serve 100 percent vegan only meals. Prior to this change, patients had a choice between animal based meals and vegan meals, and included with that was information about the health benefits of choosing plant-based foods versus the dangers of consuming animal products. The hospital made the announcement via their Instagram page, stating that “Our patients will no longer wake up from surgery to be greeted with ham, cheese, milk, and eggs…the very food(s) that may have contributed to their health problems in the first place.”

When the World Health Organization classifies processed meat as a group 1A carcinogenic (causes cancer) same group as tobacco and red meat as group 2A carcinogenic, then serving meat in the hospital is like serving cigarettes in a hospital. When the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) declare that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious disease comes from animals. When adopting a plant based exclusive diet has been successfully proven not only to stop the evolution of certain diseases but it can also reverse them. We then, have the moral responsibility to act upon and align our beliefs with our actions. Taking the courage to look at the elephant in in the eye.

Their various statements also point to the role that animal agriculture plays in spawning infectious diseases, citing the Centers for Disease Control’s estimate that 3 out of 4 new or emerging infectious diseases come from animals. “We believe it’s well about time to tackle the root cause of diseases and pandemics, not just treat symptoms,” they note.

This was a great statement. The modern day medical industry only seems to be focused on medications, and only medications that can turn a hefty profit, to treat and cure disease instead of addressing root causes. It’s good to see things changing, but a big problem remains. If a plant that grows in abundance, for example, has the potential to cure a disease, will we ever hear about it? Will the medical industry be interested in it? Probably not, but when a drug is made and patented from that plant in a specific way, that’s when we will. This is not to say that modern day medicine is useless, but today now more than ever a big problem exists, and this problem may be killing more people than it’s helping.

Arnold Seymour Relman (1923-2014), a Harvard professor of medicine and also a former Editor-in-Chief of NEMJ, was frustrated that “the medical profession is being bought by the pharmaceutical industry, not only in terms of the practice of medicine, but also in terms of teaching and research. The academic institutions of this country are allowing themselves to be the paid agents of the pharmaceutical industry. I think it’s disgraceful.” (source)

According to Forks Over Knives,

While Hayek is the first hospital to completely purge animal products from its menu, a number of hospitals have begun offering more plant-based options in recent years. Both New York and California have enacted laws requiring hospitals to offer a plant-based option with every meal. In 2018 NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue launched the Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program to help patients transition to a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.

The American Medical Association passed a resolution in 2017 calling on U.S. hospitals to provide healthful plant-based meals to promote better health in patients, staff, and visitors. The American College of Cardiology has issued similar recommendations.

In my opinion, “veganism is a very fine form of nutrition” (Dr. Ellsworth Wareham, heart surgeon), and as mentioned above, there is plenty of science to back up that statement.  I’ve written about it many times before from a health perspective.

Here’s an article that goes into more detail and science if you’re interested, it also addresses history, and how our teeth and guts are designed and more. Here’s another one regarding a study that found a strong association between eating animal protein and a premature death from all causes, including multiple cancers and type 2 diabetes.

The studies cited in that article note that meat eating is strongly associated with up to a 75 percent increased chance of early mortality, and that protein from animals may cause harm, while protein from plants may help reverse disease and have a protective effect.

There are hundreds of these studies, and the ones I cite are just a few examples.

This is obviously a very controversial topic in the eyes of many, and it’s not hard at all to find conflicting information on the subject. I am no doubt bias in my beliefs and opinions here.

One thing is for certain, the way we treat animals on this planet is extremely heartbreaking and unnecessary. Animals are separated from their families, raised for slaughter and are kept in torturous conditions on a daily basis. It’s truly unbelievable and horrific. It’s the biggest genocide and example of both physical and emotional torture the world has ever seen. I don’t think anybody can witness what really goes on in most slaughterhouses can come out not being impacted.

On top of this, animal agriculture is one of, if not the greatest contributer to environmental degradation and pollution on our planet. Animal agriculture is actually the leading cause of deforestation. Every single day, close to 100 plant/animal/insect species are lost because of this practice.

Final Thoughts: At the end of the day it seems that, from a health perspective, processed meats, and other meats are no doubt harmful to human health. People can make the argument that other animal products may not be and that we are meant to consume them. People can also make the complete opposite argument. One thing that can’t be argued is, again, the torture, physical and emotional abuse that comprise the source of where animal products come from for the majority of people who eat them.

There is a big split, as with many other topics, amongst people on this issue. There are even vegan influencers who are creating splits within the ‘vegan community’ itself, which is unfortunate. I personally believe that, from a health perspective, animal products are not at all required for anybody and are again, overall, harmful to human health.

The more pressing issue, again, is the treatment of our animal brothers and sisters, and how we are constantly using and abusing them. It’s indicative of world that lacks empathy, compassion, understanding and love, as well as our inability to see ourselves in another. This can be seen in many aspects of the current human experience, be it war, human trafficking and more. That being said, it’s great to see human consciousness shifting towards a more compassionate, empathetic type of awareness. This is evident by the “vegan” movement alone, as it’s become quite large over the past few years and will continue to grow. Some of the biggest animal food producers have already gone out of business, and it’s great to see more people in the health community as well recognize that it’s a win for health, a win for environment, and most importantly, a win for the very emotional, intelligent, animals, who are similar to us in so many ways. We have so much to learn from them.

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Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Caloric Restriction vs. Fasting: Why One Can Result In Weight Gain While The Other Helps Burn Fat

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CE Staff Writer 3 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    In the video below, Dr. Jason Fung explains the difference between caloric restriction and sending the body into "starvation" mode compared to fasting.

  • Reflect On:

    Fasting has been used as a health intervention for thousands of years, and is being used today by doctors who are educated on the topic. Why is it completely ignored by mainstream medicine? Is it because "big pharma" can't make any money off of it?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Some would say that the best solution to weight gain is eating right and exercising. I couldn’t agree more. Obesity is one of the deadliest problems humanity faces today, and just as important as diet and exercise is for addressing this issue, even more important are the emotional and personal reasons as to why so many people damage themselves and make themselves more prone to serious disease.

Apart from diet and exercise, initiating a proper fasting regimen can have tremendous health outcomes, especially for overweight people. It wasn’t but a decade ago when fasting to lose weight was considered unhealthy and dangerous. Today, we have a tremendous amount of science that’s been published clearly showing that fasting can be an effective health intervention for people of all body types, especially for people who are overweight and suffer from certain diseases. It’s an excellent way to help your body burn fat. Fasting has been used and is currently being used as an intervention for type two diabetes, cancer and more. Fasting has been shown to trigger stem cell regeneration, autophagy, which in turn can help clear out toxins and damaged cells, repair DNA, improve metabolism, lower blood sugar, boost brain function, reduce the risk of age related disease, lessen inflammation which improves a wide range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and more. It’s no wonder why so many ancient cultures from different parts of the world used fasting as medicine and as a health intervention.

As shown in the science, fasting is generally safe for everybody. This many not be true if you already have underlying health conditions or are taking certain medications. This is why it’s important to consult a health professional about it, but the issue is, the majority of health professionals are not well educated in fasting interventions. Those who have educated themselves have been treating their patients with fasting and are drawn to it due to its ability to provide so many benefits.

One of these doctors is Dr. Jason Fung, who on his blog and his YouTube channel, as well as the books he’s written provides a wealth of information and science regarding fasting. I often refer people to the work of Fung, or others like Dr. Valter Longo if they want to begin their own research about fasting. Again, there is a wealth of science and “scholarly” articles available on the subject for anybody who wants to search for it as well. It’s not heard to find.

In the video below, Fung explains why fasting is much different from caloric restriction or having your body go into “starvation mode.”  You can also check out his article, “The difference between calorie restriction and fasting” for some great information as well.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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The Deeper Questions Behind The “Lab Origins” Debate

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    It is being slowly accepted that SARS-COV2 originated in a laboratory. The delay in this admission has not been due to media "spin" alone but from scientists themselves.

  • Reflect On:

    How can we "trust the science" if the scientists are being disingenuous?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

As the majority of Americans gather around the prevailing voice of our trusted medical institutions, those opposing it seem to be digging in their heels as well. Why is this happening? After all, we are not arguing over religion or political ideology (or at least we shouldn’t be). This pandemic and its management falls squarely in the realm of science, something that should be objective and indisputable. How is the layperson supposed to make sense of the growing polarity concerning this issue? Unless one has related training in virology, epidemiology, statistics and a decent understanding of the history and the sequence of investigations that have led scientific opinion to consensus positions before this pandemic, there is no way to be “scientific”. How are we to know whether the edicts coming from our leaders are reasonable and founded? This puts us in a difficult position, one that we are unable or unwilling to acknowledge: we have to trust someone else. The question is, whom?

Mainstream Media is beginning to acknowledge that SARS-COV2 originated in a lab

There has recently been a shift in the mainstream narrative. Some of these mainstream sources have been willing to take a hard look at where this virus came from: the “lab origins” thesis. In this recent interview with evolutionary biologists Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein, popular satirist and political commentator Bill Maher admits that “it would almost be a conspiracy theory to think it didn’t start in a lab.” The reasons for this are clear to anyone who has looked beyond the veil of simplistic statements and abjectly poor investigative journalism coming from mainstream sources. Gain of Function studies on SARS viruses were being conducted in publicly funded laboratories in this country for years prior to 2014. One could argue this was part of bioterrorism research just as easily as it was part of a pandemic preparedness effort. It is not so hard to see that in order to be prepared to combat a highly contagious and virulent pathogen we must be able to study the pathogen itself. Pandemic preparedness and bioterrorism research are basically the same thing.

As the story unfolds in the mainstream narrative, it is becoming apparent that the wet market hypothesis will soon be jettisoned for its sheer implausibility. Is it likely that this virus could survive in a bat or pangolin for generations while mutating in such a way that it could not only immediately survive in a human body but be so virulent as well? What are the factors that would be involved in allowing this new strain to behave unlike previous SARS viruses in terms of its copious presence in our nasopharyngeal cavities, apparent transmissibility in the asymptomatic and enduring pathogenicity when floating around in the air or lurking on surfaces? The answer is far more than one, making this wet market to global pandemic story all the more unacceptable.

As establishment science comes to its senses, we are left with the reality that the pandemic has most probably been the consequence of a laboratory research that got out of control. It may not be excusable or forgivable but at least we can take comfort that our attention has been refocused on what is plausible. However simply acknowledging the high probability of lab origins and moving forward with all the same initiatives to combat this virus is not enough. There are more questions that need to be posed first.

How did some Scientists “spin” the science?

This argument over SARS-COV2 origin is not new at all. It was being hotly debated a year ago for some of the same reasons I mentioned above. The lab origin thesis was effectively (and prematurely) purged from “acceptable” discussions when a paper entitled “The Proximal Origin of SARS-COV2” (KG Anderson et al) appeared in Nature Medicine (March 17, 2020). This piece served as the foundation of a wall of scientific opinion that was rapidly erected to contain the dangerous “conspiracy theory” that the virus was a product of human intention and ingenuity. If you were to read the piece it would be hard to not end up shrugging your shoulders and going along with the authors’ thesis. The authors are well-respected and published scientists that include W. Ian Lipkin, pathologist, neurobiologist and epidemiologist at Columbia University,  internationally recognized for his work around W. Nile Virus and SARS. They are assured in their conclusions and offer the reader, among other things, a comparative study of the peptide structure and genetic sequence of this virus and closely related variants. 

I am a physician and was led to this piece months ago in my research into this topic. I admit that I was left scratching my head. It wasn’t until I tuned in to a blog surrounding this and other issues hosted by Dr. Meryl Nass, a respected and dutiful researcher of pandemics and bioterrorism, that l was able to grasp where the misdirection was introduced. Dr. Nass correctly points out that it may not be possible to irrefutably prove that the virus was of lab origin or not, however it is the erroneous assumptions and unsound logic the authors of the Nature Medicine article use that point to the obscuration of the facts in a manner we could reasonably deem as deliberate.

After presenting us with a thorough description of the structure of SARS-COV-2 and analysis of its means of entering human cell lines via the Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, the authors introduce their challenge to the lab origins position. The authors state:

“While the analyses above suggest that SARS-CoV-2 may bind human ACE2 with high affinity, computational analyses predict that the interaction is not ideal and that the RBD sequence is different from those shown in SARS-CoV to be optimal for receptor binding. Thus, the high-affinity binding of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to human ACE2 is most likely the result of natural selection on a human or human-like ACE2 that permits another optimal binding solution to arise. This is strong evidence that SARS-CoV-2 is not the product of purposeful manipulation.”

Anderson et al are presenting their first line of attack on the Lab Origins hypothesis. Because their computational analysis predicts that a different and more “optimal” receptor-binding domain (RBD) portion of the spike protein on SARS-COV-2 could have been built, they say, it must have arisen naturally. The authors are assuming that if the virus was the product of bioterrorists they would have designed it differently. Is this sound logic? It is not. First, the authors are presupposing that their computational method is the only one available for use. Second, there is no reason to assume that a bioterrorist would choose the genetic solution that was “optimal”. Moreover, picking a “solution” identical to a computationally derived genetic sequence would leave an obvious clue that human hands were involved. This is in fact what the authors are correctly pointing out. 

This line of reasoning sheds light upon their foundational assumptions about the sophistication and intentions of would-be bioterrorists. Are they experimenters in laboratories building a novel coronavirus to a computer model’s specs to study it? Or are they true bioterrorists seeking to design a bioweapon that has no trace of human manipulation? Obviously one cannot know. Making either assumption cannot be part of any rigorous forensic analysis.

The authors go on:

“It is improbable that SARS-CoV-2 emerged through laboratory manipulation of a related SARS-CoV-like coronavirus. As noted above, the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 is optimized for binding to human ACE2 with an efficient solution different from those previously predicted. Furthermore, if genetic manipulation had been performed, one of the several reverse-genetic systems available for betacoronaviruses would probably have been used. However, the genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone.”

Here the authors are introducing yet another unfounded assumption: If the virus was designed as a biological weapon, why would a known coronavirus backbone necessarily be used as a basis for genetic manipulation? Certainly that option would be entertained by a team of bioterrorism researchers, but it is illogical to begin with that assumption. There are undoubtedly coronavirus backbones that have been genetically manipulated and remain behind closed doors and outside of public databases, i.e. unknown. It is equally logical to conclude that because no known backbone was used the virus was purposefully manipulated.  

In any case, genetic manipulation is not the only way to create a backbone of a virus. The oldest way is to use passage, a laboratory technique where a virus is cultured through a series of cell lines from different species resulting in a viable product that will survive in the target species. Other techniques are also readily available: exposing a known virus to mutagenic factors, collecting those that survive and repeating the process or simply mixing related viruses together to see what recombinant products result. None of these methods will result in a “solution” that would be in any way predictable at the outset. Indeed, that is the advantage of using such techniques. This is a fact that is well known to virologists, making the authors’ analysis all the more suspicious.

It is undeniable that the authors were using poor logic and unfounded assumptions to make unsound conclusions. This should have been obvious to the scientific community at that time, and this paper should not have made it through the editorial process of such a respected publication as Nature Medicine. The disquieting thing is that quite the opposite occurred. The article instead served as the seminal piece to squelch all arguments for the lab origin hypothesis once a flurry of subsequent publications cited it. Who should be held accountable for this? The authors? The editorial committee of Nature Medicine? The cadre of scientists that chose to use this publication to “manufacture consensus”? The mainstream media for failing in their responsibility to offer a balanced view of the debate around this article? None can be held solely responsible and all were required to perpetuate the distortion. The implications here are very serious and impossible to ignore.

Who can we rely upon to faithfully report “the science”?

Are there no stops to the dissemination of baseless “scientific” opinion? This is a question that rarely gets asked because we tend to assume that in the end, scientific consensus will be reached without the need for oversight. We are talking about science and scientists here, not policy makers or private industrialists with conflicts of interest and personal gains that hang in the balance. Yet the lines between science, industry and policy-making are blurrier the closer we look. In any case, who can we rely upon to ensure that the scientists are doing their job in formulating sound approaches to the problems at hand? There isn’t anyone, other than the scientists themselves. So what went wrong here? How did the Anderson paper end up deftly hamstringing a viable theory about the origins of SARS-COV2 a year ago using specious logic and unnecessary assumptions? Why didn’t anyone say anything? Despite what is generally known, many did.

Here’s where things get hopeful, depending on how you look at them. It would be wrong to dismiss all virologists, epidemiologists and researchers as slaves to corporate funded research institutions and group-think. Behind the veil of headlines that tout the rigor of the data and fuel the “trust the science” mantra there are collections of perspicacious and tireless researchers and journalists that have been pushing back against the established opinion and raising valid concerns about the hijacking of the narrative by members of their own ilk. Notably RFK Jr.’s Children’s Health Defense and Dr. Joseph Mercola have published an excellent paper that comprehensively summarized the ongoing work of Dr. Alina Chan of MIT’s Broad Institute who has documented the timeline and significance of how the spin has been manufactured by the scientific community themselves. Of course, many are familiar with Mr. Kennedy and Dr. Mercola not because of what they are bringing to complex discussions but because of their stigmatization as purveyors of “anti-vax” and “pseudoscience” opinions. Once so marked they are felled by the mainstream media machine with all the efficiency and discrimination of a logger’s chainsaw in an old-growth forest.

There are others that are broadcasting the same signal of reason. DRASTIC (Decentralized Radical Autonomous Search Team Investigating Covid-19) is a group of independent scientists, journalists and researchers that have been bringing attention to the suspicious ways that the debate surrounding the origin of SARS-COV2 has been marginalized within the scientific community itself (more about their work here). For example, “A Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals and medical professionals of China combatting Covid-19” appeared in the correspondence section of the esteemed medical journal Lancet in March of 2020. In this letter the authors explicitly characterize any dissent to the natural origins hypothesis as “rumour, disinformation and conspiracy theories”. 

What are we to make of such accusations leveled against scientists by scientists? This sort of rhetoric has no place in any scientific discussion of any kind and should be a matter of real concern for everyone. Has science been corrupted by the same forces that are undeniably turning investigative journalism into a means of promulgating propaganda in some instances? If that were the case, how then are we to “trust the science”?

The Predicament that we are in

We are in an uncomfortable situation. Unless we can independently dismantle the arguments like those in the Anderson paper, or can understand the significance of the appearance of a mysterious 12 nucleotide sequence in the SARS-COV2 genome that confers the virus with a polybasic furin cleavage site (resulting in a substantial increase in virulence described here), or can appreciate the implications of a situation where scientific journals publish papers without requiring authors to supply the raw data required for independent genomic confirmation, we are stuck. If the science is being spun or misrepresented or poorly reported, there would be no way to know it.

Determining the origin of SARS-COV2 is an important question that still needs to be answered definitively. Attempting to answer this question has brought light to more disturbing questions. We cannot expect the layperson to comprehend the scientific studies that underpin our approach to this pandemic, let alone critique the logic and assumptions made by the authors of these papers. Expecting that a news correspondent, mainstream or otherwise, is anymore capable of dissecting such information is not realistic either. Until we come to grips with this we will not be able to grasp the enormity of the crisis we are facing.

The Takeaway

An honest examination into the origin of SARS-COV2 suggests a danger more pernicious than the virus itself. How much of scientific opinion is dictated by non-scientific interests? How many other “consensus” positions are rooted in inexcusably poor reasoning and assumptions? If we can only rely on independent researchers to bring clarity to these topics, who is going to give them a voice? If there is a fact that can be extracted from this debate it would be that “trusting the science” and trusting what a media source says about “the science” can be two very different things. 

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