Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Health Food Scam: Colloidal Silver, Part Two

1 August 2009

Alonzo’s note: Rosemary Jacobs posted a reply to the initial blog posting on the subject of colloidal silver. Instead of including it in the comments, I have taken it upon myself to give her message its own blog posting. I have taken the liberty of adding paragraph divisions and a few other modifications. Ms Jacobs is welcome to post to this blog on this topic whenever she wishes.

This blog was brought to my attention and I was asked to comment on it.

I will try to be brief but that will be difficult since I have been researching silver and argyria for decades since I have had argyria for over 50 years. I have had a website warning people about the silver scam for over 10 years. Please look at it and contact me privately if you want references or more info.

While Alonso’s blog is excellent, there are a few errors. Silver was discontinued because it didn’t work and it discolored lots of people. Silver like alcohol, peroxide, clorox, etc. is a disinfectant that kills many pathogens on contact but not inside people who ingest it like an antibiotic does. There are approved topical drugs that contain silver. Without pulling the citation from Ontario, I believe that the authors themselves concluded that the evidence does not actually demonstrate that silver was the cause of the man’s injuries and death. I and most researchers do not think that the large body of evidence available indicates that silver causes other problems besides argyria, gray skin, although it is very possible that it may in some people but not most. No one knows how many people really ingest silver or how much they ingest since the industry is not regulated.

Lab analysis has shown that silver supplements as well as other virtually unregulated “dietary supplements” often carry inaccurate labels. Some silver supplements have no detectable amount of silver. Others have more or less than the label indicates. Neither are the labels correct about the type of silver in them, but that is irrelevant since there is a great deal of evidence indicating that silver and only silver in any form or all by itself is what causes argyria. What is not known is the toxic amount, the amount that will discolor the average person. Silver forms strong chemical bonds with tissue throughout the body including that in the skin. It isn’t the protein that some silver supplements are bound to that does this. It is the silver which many salesmen refer to as “pure silver”. And large particles don’t get “trapped” anywhere.

If salesmen had an understanding of basic chemistry, they’d know that. There are many cases of argyria caused by silver supplements. There are attorneys getting out-of-court settlements on the behalf of those with the courage to admit that they have been conned and hire an attorney to represent them in a timely fashion, before the statutes of limitations expire. But unfortunately, aside from Jones & Karason I only know of one other person who has admitted publicly that she got argyria from a silver supplement. The others are terribly embarrassed. They feel like idiots. As one said to me, “I feel so stupid. I believed the salesman who told me it was nontoxic and that I could take as much as I wanted. I believed him till I turned gray!” Many people who got argyria from supplements took far less than Paul did and many followed the labels on the products they were sold. (This goes for both commercial brands and home brews made from kits.)

There isn’t a shred of evidence that ingesting silver in any form or amount offers any health benefits whatsoever. There is no evidence in the med. lit. and argyric people have the same health problems as other people and we die at the same average age as everyone else. I was told by an ABC producer who interviewed me and Karason that Oprah got Paul to have a physical which showed that he has prostate cancer. I haven’t verified that, but I had breast cancer at the age of 42 in 1984 even though according to many silver promoters cancer is one of the ton of diseases that silver in our bodies is supposed to prevent and cure.


The Healthcare Public Option: Truth vs Lies

17 June 2009

TheYoungTurks is a liberal-leaning news channel on YouTube. They report on a lot of stories that are relevent to political discourse in the USA and around the world. They also report on Hollywood and celebrity news, along with a few stories that feature “who’s more attractive”-type stories. Altogether, it is a very enetertaining channel to subscribe to, although I think that conservative may not like them too much.

Their main website can be found here

Here are two of their most recent reports on a national healthvare system being proposed for the USA

The Truth

The Lies

Overall, I think the Young Turks channel is one of the most fun and informative channels that I subscribe to on YouTube.


Canadian National Healthcare System: Fact vs Fiction

17 June 2009

TheRealNews is a valuable YouTube channel that reports news stories that may not get much exposure in the American mainstram media. I find most of their reports to be very informative and valuable for me to know about.

Here is a recent video debunking some of the myths about the Canadian healthcare system.

and another video on the same topic from October 2008.

You can visit their website here and even make a donation to help support their work of independent reporting.


Thoughts on the Movie “Greasy Rider”

24 May 2009

I watched a movie on Hulu, called “Greasy Rider”, which chronicles the story of some people who designed a process where an ordinary car can be converted to run on vegetable oil, instead of gasoline or deisel. Actually, there are several such people mentioned, but the car in the movie was driven by people from

During the film, people who have designed similar cars are also shown, along with celebrity interviews – Morgan Freeman, Yoko Ono,  Noam Chomsky, etc – where people gave their thoughts on American dependence on foreign oil and how it affects our domestic life, foreign policy, health and the environment.

Unlike most alternative fuel researchers, there is no national body of people who collaborate on how to convert more cars to run on vegetable oil. When I mention vegetable oil, I don’t mean growing vegetables for the express purpose of turning them into fuel oil. I’m talking about using vegetable oil that had been previously used by restaurants and then discarded. So, they are using a fuel source that no one would miss if it were gone. In fact, they were able to drive their car across the USA without having to pay any money for the fuel they were using. Companies, like McDonalds, Wendy’s, the mom-and-pop eateries around the country, and all other burger chains and restaurants across the US pay other companies to come and take their used vegetable oil away and discard it. Sometimes the oil is used to make other products, but often it is dumped in landfills. The simple beauty of using the vegetable oil is that we discard millions of gallons of the stuff everyday in the United States, when it turns-out that we could be running our cars on it. In fact, the first deisel engine used peanut oil as a fuel source.

Of course, for the same reason the Big Oil companies bought-up the electric rail system in Los Angeles and have ignored the very idea of an electric car is that the big profits for now come from the petroleum industry and there is no profit for them at the moment in having the American driver burn used vegetable oil instead of gasoline. Let’s face it, if you had a car like that, you could fill-up your tank everyday without even having to pay for the fuel you were using. Most restaurant owners and managers would be glad to not have to pay a company to come and take the stuff away when they could give it away. All you’d have to bring with you in a pump to syphon the oil out of their storage tank and a filter to remove the particles that are in the oil after use. One guy in the movie used an ordinary sock, for G-d’s sake. Naturally, there is a small conversion kit that you’d have to install in some of these designs, which isn’t very expensivve and you’ll be saving loads of money by not having to pay for gas.

I saw the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?” which spoke about how General Motors designed the fully-electric EV1, which gave good performance and the technology already exists to prolong battery life. It was only GM’s reluctance to introduce such a car onto the American market, due to low profitability for the petroleum industry, which doomed the EV1 to ultimate failure. It was a good car, as good as any on the market today, but right now the big money is in Oil and the industry doesn’t want to give-up just yet.

As was pointed-out in the film by one of the interviewees, as long as the veggie oil cars don’t pose too much of a threat to Big Oil, they”ll be tolerated, even laughed-at, by the Big Car and Big Oil industries. But, if they are perceived as posing a significant threat to their bank balances, they’ll get stomped-on like insects under the Big Boot of the Oil and Automotive industries.

This is what pisses me off to no end: we have the technology and resources to end our dependence, not only on foreign oil, but on oil entirely. Yet, because a small group of people and corporations depend upon our addiction to petroleum, such technology will be kept under wraps and also covertly suppressed.


Militant Veganism

4 May 2009

In case people think, due to my last post, that I am somehow opposed to protecting animals from cruel treatment: I am fully in support of laws to protect animals from cruel treatment by humans.

Partly, I support such laws because when people are cruel to animals, they tend to extend that behavior to other people. Some one who beats their dog or cat is probably going to take a swing at me if I get them mad enough and they are more likely to take that swing if they have a history of animal abuse.

Furthermore, I support protecting animals from abuse because it is a mark of civilized behavior for people to be concerned for the welfare of animals over whom they have power. The more humane we are to animals, the better people we are as a whole.

Some people take that a step further and become vegetarians or even vegans, feeling that it is immoral to kill animals for food. That’s fine with me. But, I have a problem with people for whom their vegetarianism or veganism is some kind of fucking religion and that all meat-eaters (actually, omnivores) are immoral, evil scum because we eat animal flesh. I used to hangout at a local store that caters to vegans and I would hear the daily rants against the eating of meat. It seemed that becoming a vegetarian/vegan was like a religion, with its own group of fundamentalists out to spread the word even to those who didn’t wish to hear it. Instead of the “you’re going to Hell” argument, I’d hear the “you’re murdering innocent animals” argument, which did nothing to convince me, though it might have convinced some.

Most people don’t like the idea that we are being cruel to the helpless, especially animals and most Americans have never killed an animal that they would go on to eat later. One of my earliest memories was seeing my uncle slaughter a rabbit for the family dinner to be held later that night. I didn’t eat any rabbit, but I don’t remember if it was because of personal choice or because there simply wasn’t enough to go around.

One YouTube user who engaged in the “meat-eaters are evil” tirade is a young man named Onision. For awhile, his videos consisted of the omnivore-bashing that I had heard years ago, so I took little interest in his channel and didn’t watch more than a few of his videos. Other users took exception to his rants and released videos of their own. I understand that Onision even engaged in a bit of DMCA filing against users he felt had illegally copied portions of his videos, despite such actions being covered by Fair Use. I am not aware of the outcome of these filings, having taken little interest in it. Later, Onision admitted that he was an actor and that he had been playing a role. Being a YouTube Partner, he made money as his videos got more views. A good way to generate publicity for himself and make a buck. But, his latest video consists of him whining that he is receiving hate mail from other users, as well as his still  being the subject of videos made by other users.

Oh, and he’s also upset that people are mispronouncing his name. Whatever.

Kind of hard to put the genie back in the bottle, Onision. You wanted all the publicity and now you have it. Deal with it and stop whining.

A bit more radical than simple YouTUbe rants are the animal libertation groups, like Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and Earth Liberation Front (ELF) both of whom have found themselves on lists of extremist organizations compiled by law enforcement agencies, including the FBI here in the United States. Both encourage people to become vegans, I guess because raising cows for milk and chickens for eggs somehow counts as enslavement. I wonder what these cows and chickens would be doing if people didn’t at least need them around for that.

Both ALF and ELF have websites where the latest “Direct Actions” against people and companies that are seen as exploiting animals or harming the environment are featured. ANything from simple vandalism to outright arson get mentioned without the slighest hint of condemnation from the webhosts. Despite the fact that no person is usually harmed by their actions doesn’t remove the fact that property was destroyed and people have, in fact, been threatened with serious bodily harm.

One of the most obvious cases of a radical animal rights group being their own worst enemy is the case of Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) whose primary target is Huntington Life Sciences, which is a contract animal-testing company founded in 1952 in England, now with facilities in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire and Eye, Suffolk in the UK; New Jersey in the U.S.; and in Japan.  HLS is the largest such commercial operation in Europe and conducts tests on around 75,000 animals every year — including rats, rabbits, pigs, dogs, and primates — testing pharmaceutical products, agricultural chemicals, industrial chemicals, and foodstuffs on behalf of private clients worldwide.  SHAC was successful in getting HLS’ bank accounts closed and their listing removed from both the London and New York Stock Exchanges. In fact, they nearly drove HLS out of business.

But, SHAC went too far. Too far by a longshot. They engaged in threats against people who either worked for HLS or did business with them in some fashion, such as HLS’s business partners, their business partners, insurers, caterers, cleaners, children’s nursery schools, and office suppliers. There was even a letter-writing campaign where an employee of a company that did business with HLS was targeted in a campaign where eight hundred letters were sent to his neighbors accusing him of being a pedophile, the police had to assure his neighbors that the accusations were false. Threats, intimidation, vandalism or vehicles and property became their modus operandi and Huntington Life Sciences found itself having to move to the United States and takeout high-interest loans to stay in business. Actions against HLS became even more violent with physical assaults on the persons of HLS staff. Huntington Life Sciences’ marketing director Andrew Gay was attacked on his doorstep with a chemical spray to his eyes which left him temporarily blinded!

Then came Operation Achilles, where much of SHAC’s leadership was arrested, tried, convicted and imprisioned. HLS was able to move back to the UK and the majority of the attacks against them have ceased.

But, even without the threats, vandalism, etc. SHAC almost won! They almost drove HLS out of business, which is what they wanted. It was only because they decided to act like a bunch of badasses that the police cracked down on them and imprisoned their leadership. If they had stuck with legal protests, undercover investigations and whistleblowing, SHAC could have triumphed over HLS anyway. But, as I said, they shot themselves in the foot when they began to think they were all clones of Che Guevara or something and took their campaign in a direction where it had no business going.

Now, Huntington Life Sciences is back in the UK and rebuilding itself. Naturally, they are likely very exhausted from all of this and it will take them time to recover fully, but that will come in time.

Okay, so what would have happened if Huntington had gone out of business? Would animal experimentation have ceased?

Nope. It would have simply moved overseas to a country where animal protection laws are not as strict or which may not even exist.

You see, animal experimentation is a vital part of medical research. It has led to vast improvements of medical care for people, including the polio vaccine, insulin, tuberculosis medicines and so on.

Common medical procedures that we take for granted today were pioneered with animal research before they were tried on people, such as blood transfusions were first tried on dogs and penicillin was tried on mice. These are just a few examples of animal research leading to important medical benefits for humans.

We all see the films put out by animal rights activists that show dogs and cats being used as lab animals. But, the fact is that dogs, cats and primates amount for 1% of all lab animals, with the rest consisting of rats, mice, rabbits and guinea pigs which are not endangered species by any means and their species will certainly survive a small percentage being used for animal research.

In the USA, we eat more ducks every year than the total number of animals used in research. As we also consume more chickens, cattle and pigs than even the highest estimate of the number of total animals of all species used for research purposes. The United States has the most stringent requirements for animal research than nay country in the world. You just can’t go and start injecting animals with pharmaceuticals because you feel like experimenting. You have to get approval and there are also strict requirements for the quality of life for the animal while it is being used for these experiments. An animal that is uder a great deal of stress due to pain will not provide good data for a medicine’s effectiveness, so researchers must not subject the animal to more discomfort than is absolutely neccessary for the experiments. Violations of the law can result in research grant money being withdrawn and there can be civil and criminal liability involved for the persons responsible. This is why I am not opposed to groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) engaging in undercover investigations to expose violations of the law to the public and the media.  Adherance to the law results in better research, which leads to more accurate data, which leads to improved benefits for people.

While there are other ways to do research on pharmaceuticals (e.g. in vitro testing, MRI scanning, computer modeling and micro-dosing) these are supplementary to animal research and they do have their limitations. They cannot completely replace animal testing, no matter how much we wish they could. If people think that animal testing is less expensive financially than the alternatives I mentioned, then you’re wrong. Animal testing is far more expensive, time-consuming and heavily-regulated than the supplementary methods, so there is no way for medical researchers to save money by experimenting on animals. It would be cheaper if the other methods were as effective as animal testing, but they are not.

There are between 25 to 26 million animals of all species being used for animal research in the USA, which is a drop in the ocean compared to the sheer number of animals killed for food. If animal rights people wanted to save the most amount of animals, they’d be trying to get the rest of us to become vegetarians or vegans. But, there’s not much chance of that, so they go for what is a far easier target, one that they can easily pull the heartstrings of otherwise intelligent people to support them.

Here’s a video that you can have a look at to get a better understanding of the issue. The speaker is Tom Holder, spokesman of Speaking of Research, who was a key member of the UK movement “Pro-Test”, which helped win the British public over on the issue of animal testing. In this video, Mr Holder challenges some of the misinformation that is spread around by animal rights groups on the subject of vivisection. The presentation was filmed at a Speaking of Research talk at Oregon Health & Sciences University.

I am all in favor of private groups and individuals whistleblowing on researchers that abuse the animals under their care, as was done to HLS by SHAC in the early part of their campaign. Groups like PETA have done much good in this country by exposing animal abusers, who can then be prosecuted under the law. Naming and Shaming animal abusers with accurate information does the most good for animals and for the people the research will benefit.

Of course, PETA wouldn’t go for the idea of animal testing continueing, having “Until All the Cages are Empty” as a slogan. But, you’d think that they’d be more understanding, since former PETA Vice President, Mary-Beth Sweetland, is a diabetic who injects herself daily with insulin—a treatment tested and perfected in animals. She admitted her treatment still contains some animal products, but it’s okay – for her – because using these animal products helps her stay alive to help more animals. Naturally, she doesn’t see herself as a hypocrite, which is what I think she is. I mean, if it’s not okay to experiment on animals or use animals for medical purposes to benefit humans, then it should mean any humans, especially people who are trying to stop animal research.

Is it just me or is there a bit of “Do as I say, not as I do” going-on here?

Still, Ms Sweetland does claim that she uses less insulin today since she adopted a vegan diet. So, she has to have fewer dead animals on her conscience.

I do have to give my support to PETA for their campaign against animal abuse in circuses. Their investigative work did unearth horrific treatment of circus animals. But, I think that abusers should be punished, without the need or goal to close-down circuses around the country. If a circus cannot train their animals without torturing them, then the circus owners should quit the business.

Let me boil it down for you: with laws in-place to protect animals from abuse, those laws should be enforced and transgressors punished. If an animal at a research lab, at a circus, on a farm or in some one’s home is the victim of abuse, then the abuser should be Named & Shamed,  brought to justice and punished under the law.

It is not the place or the right of groups like PETA, ALF, ELF, Sea Shepherd, SHAC or any other organization to take the law into their own hands and act as judge, jury and executioner. A civilized society cannot function any other way. It is groups like these that give vegans a bad name.


Fundraiser to Fight Malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa

14 April 2009

I found-out about this fundraiser a short time ago and decided to spread the word as best I can.

If you care to make a donation through this fundraiser, use this link

If you’d rather donate to Malaria No More directly through their website, use this link

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that infects 515 million people anually.  Every year, between one and three million people are killed, the vast majority of them being young children in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Children are particularly succeptable to malaria, the vast majority of fatalities resulting from infection within the first five years of age.  While the current infection rate is 515 million people globally per year, without intervention, the problem is estimated to double within 20 years.

Symptoms of malaria include fever, shivering, arthralgia (joint pain), vomiting, anemia (via erythrocyte hemolysis caused by P. falciparium invasion), hemoglobinuria, retinal damage, and convulsions.  Malaria has also been found to cause cognitive impairments, and through its anemic effects it can also inflict brain damage – expecially in children.  Within regions where HIV is also prevalent, the effects of malaria are compounded.  Without treatment, severe cases of malaria have been known to induce both coma and death within days or even hours.  Even with intensive care, fatality rates can exceed 20% in severe pandemics.  While medical treatment is available, preventative intervention is both cheaper and more effective for combating this pathogenic disease.

The nets are both reliable and effective, requiring only a simple insecticide treatment once every five years.  They have been proven to reduce chances of contracting malaria by over 70%.  However, not everyone can afford one.  The illness itself and the malaria treatment result in a loss of wage.  This is a contributor to poverty on a whole.  When compounded with the poverty some people already live in – expecially in rural areas – many people cannot afford to protect their families.  Currently, only 1 of every 20 people in Africa own a net.

This is where YOU come in.

Malaria No More is an internationally renouned non-profit NGO dedicated to malaria relief through providing insecticide-treated mosquito nets, educational services for how the netting and insecticide are used, logistical support, and other services necessary for combating the malaria epidemic in Africa.  They have been widely promoted, one promoter being American Idol.  Many celebrities have also initiated fundraisers for this group.  Malaria No More is a reliable and cost effective charity for providing anti-malarial services to Africa.

Malaria No More advocates the $10 dollar solution to malaria: $10 is the amount of money required to manufacture, ship, and distribute one mosquito net to a family in africa, as well as to educate them about their use.

Firstgiving acts as an intermediate for connecting registered charities with donators through hosting charity pages such as this one.  Firstgiving is both a reliable and trustworthy intermediate, having handled over 1.5 million people, thousands of causes, and over 90 million dollars.  Through their services, we can deliver your donations to Malaria No More safely, efficiently, and effectively.

Payment is fast, secure and easy.  No one has access to your account information, and all transactions are secure.  When you donate, you will be provided with a receipt that you can print off and use towards tax deductibles.  Every month, First Giving will automatically send a check with all amount collected directly to Malaria No More.  I do not handle the money, nor can I access it.

Nearly all money goes towards Malaria No More, the only exception being a 7.5% charge to all donations paid directly to FirstGiving.  This pays for the hosting page, technical support, staff, financial processing, logistics, as well as providng a safe and secure website that both protects your information and ensures the transfer of your money to the non-profit organization.  Using their services is the most efficient means to fundraise this money.  Fundraising progress is indicated on this page, and is automatically updated every time a donation is made.

April 25 is World Malaria Day.

What are you waiting for?  Donate today, and help protect Africans from this harmful disease.  Your contribution today may very well be the one that saves a life tomorrow.

For more information about Malaria No More, see

For more information about FirstGiving, see

If you have comments, questions, or concerns, please do not hesitate to send an email to (If you are familiar with my UNFFwildcard YouTube channel that is both available and preferred), and I will address whatever you need as expediently as possible.

Thank you!  We your help, we can protect those in need.


Medical Professionals Are Heroes, Too

30 January 2009

If you’ve ever been to a hospital, even just for a routine exam or treatment, you often get just a glimpse of how hard the doctors, nurses and others professionals work.

Working long hours, often with little sleep and low pay, they make the often difficult decisions that save human life and try to help us live longer. They often have to deal with abusive patients, who cannot understand why doctors and nurses simply can’t “do something” for them. These people simply don’t understand how complicated medicine really is or hour many years doctors and nurses have to study and train to reach a level of competance before they are allowed to treat their first patient. Nurses, especially, are often the target of abuse by angry or impatient people who treat them are little better than the doctors’ secretaries, when they are, in fact, highly-trained professionals.

I used to work in a hospital. I was one of the support staff, but not a doctor or nurse. I got to know the staff at he hospital I worked at as real human beings and I saw a lot of what they went-through on a daily basis.

I found this video on YouTube made in tribute to them. I hope that you will give this video a five-star rating, if you have a YouTube account.


Standing-Up for Tea-Drinkers’ Rights

25 January 2009

Part of my grandmother’s family came from East Frisia, otherwise known as Ostfriesland. In that part of Germany, the people are not coffee-drinkers, but tea-drinkers. As most Germans prefer coffee, East Frisia stands-out for its tea culture. In fact, the bulk of the tea consumed in Germany every year is drunk in that province.

As you may guess, tea occupied a part of our lives, especially when I visited with my grandparents. I don’t think my grandmother ever drank coffee in her entire life. I think she got Grampa into the habit, too, as I never saw him drink coffee, but I assume he did at some time after the family arrived in America during the 1930s. As I grew-up, I developed into a tea-drinker, much to Granma’s delight.

So, while I might have the rare cup of coffee, you will never find coffee in my home and you will always find a generous supply of tea, teacups and pots in my cupboard. We lived in the South for a few years and I developed a liking for Southern Sweet Tea, much to Granma’s horror, since it is served cold.

Once in awhile, I find myself eating out, especially with friends from work and I recently was asked to go to breakfast with a coworker. After the meal, I asked for some hot tea. I always like to wash-down breakfast with hot tea, but I usually eat breakfast at home, not in restaurants. The waitress brought me a Lipton teabag with a cup of hot water to dunk it in. Hiding my outrage at this blasphemy against the gods of tea, I drank my tea and asked for a refill of hot water for my second cup.

Things went downhill from there.

Since my friend wanted to talk after breakfast, I finished my second cup over conversation. The second cup was obviously weaker than the first, of course. I then asked for a new teabag and some more water. Then, the waitress dropped the bombshell: a second teabag would cost the same amount as the first one.

Never mind the cost, which was a little over a dollar, but I noticed how coffee-drinkers were able to get unlimited refills of coffee, but tea-drinkers have to pay for any tea beyond cup #2. Now, this offended me.

Why am I being punished for drinking tea, instead of coffee, I wondered? It’s not like coffee-drinkers can only drink coffee made with the exact same grounds as their first two cups were made with. Oh, no. Fresh grounds in the machine every few minutes, so their coffee is always fresh. Tea, on the other hand was weaker on the second go.

Okay, this is America, the Land of the All-Night Taco Stand, Land of Opportunity, and all that. Just no frakking opportunity for a tea-drinker for a decent cup of tea. Dear G-d, Lipton is like the bottom of the barrel for hot tea, compared to Twinnings, Tetley’s and PG Tips. Health experts in the media tell us to drink tea for better health and, yet, we’re limited to one frakking cup of halfway decent tea!

Okay. Okay. No problemo. I’ll just know better next time, I thought.

So, a couple of days later, my friend and I are back at the same restaurant for breakfast. This time, I brought my own teabags, which were of the brand Lyon’s, which is popular in Ireland. So, I asked the waitress for a cup of hot water, since I had my own teabags. You know what she said to me? She said that the manager doesn’t allow people to bring their own teabags, since it’s like bringing outside food into the restaurant!

What in the Holy Name of Frakk is this???

I’m serious!

Okay, outside food, I can understand. But, I cannot bring a tiny bags of dried leaves into a restaurant? I cannot drink as many cups of tea as I want because the manager is afraid of people starting with tea and going to bringing in steak platters from outside or something like that?

Hey, I tip well, okay? I’m not one of those cheap bastards that orders everything on the menu, treats the waitress like crap and doesn’t leave a g-d damned tip! I always tip, at least, 20% and so I thought that I could get a bit of leeway here.

But, nnnnnnooooo! Not for you, Mr Tea-drinker! It’s back to the rear of the bus for you and all your sorry kind!

So, being a Jew, I decided to stand-up for myself against the Forces of Intolerance and I asked to speak to the manager. After waiting for what seemed like forever – it almost seemed like the Messiah would come to our table before the manager did – this fat twenty-something kid comes out and I, politely, asked him if I could bring in my own teabags.  I figured that for something so small and insignificant, he wouldn’t care. I was wrong. Oh, G-d was I wrong.

He acted like I had just asked if  I could have sex with his wife or something. He actually seemed offended that I would even ask the question. His exact words were “Hell, no.” and that was it.

At this point, my friend was getting nervous and he thanked the manager for his time and we continued with our meal, my Lyon’s teabags staying-put in my coat pocket.

As we left, I told my friend that I didn’t want to eat there anymore. If I’m going to eat out from home, I’ll only eat somewhere that would allow me to bring my own teabags, as everyplace seemed to only stock Lipton’s, which is good for iced tea, but is horrid (in my opinion) when served hot. He resisted, at first, but he hated to eat alone and we actually got some of our work done before we had to go to the office at 9am, so he agreed to find somewhere else.

And we did. It seems that there is this little place, not far from the first one, where you can bring in teabags of your own choosing. The only catch is that you pay the same price for a cup of hot water as you would for a cup of coffee, which I can live with. I wasn’t the only tea-drinker there, either. A young lady brings her bags of green tea to drink with her meal. She’s recovering from breast cancer and drinks green tea as part of her regular diet. There’s also this Russian cabdriver who brings some obscure brand with him and drinks (I swear) about a gallon of tea in a sitting.

Nice to be with like-minded people. Besides, it’s also cheaper there and the waitresses are better-looking, which is always a plus.

After about two weeks of all this, I found myself at the local Big Box store and who should I run-into but the manager from the first restaurant! Apparently, he remembered me from our little encounter.

He mentioned that they hadn’t seen me since that day and when I might be coming back. I told him that I had found somewhere else, a place that welcomes tea-drinkers and I would be eating my breakfast there from now on.

Now, this took me of-guard: he couldn’t believe that I would stop eating somewhere simply over the Tea Issue.  I told him that I have been a tea-drinker my whole life and I wasn’t going to stop just for him. I didn’t add the fact that I had actually become attached to the new place, developing friendships with the other regulars (we eat the three times a week, at least) who were very friendly. The young woman, Eileen, is in remission and has a fanatical interest in stamp-collecting. The Russian, somehow, got me to become a semi-regular chess partner. What is it with Russians and chess? I think he likes beating me at chess out of revenge against all Germans because of World War Two, never mind that my family left Germany shortly before the war even started. No, this Rooskie has to punish us all. He’s probably a Trotskyite or one of those that believes in Permanent Revolution. Damned commies! Weren’t Lenin and Trotsky both Jews? Where’s the love?

There’s also the waitresses and the owner, who can usually be found on the floor working alongside her employees.

All this in a tea-friendly environment. What more could I want?

He had this look on his face like I had just told him there’s no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny and he turned away without saying goodbye or even apologizing for his rudeness when I had tried a diplomatic solution before.

You don’t tell a Jew that he can’t have something. You just don’t! Especially when there are alternatives.

I think Granma would be so proud of me.


Health Food Scams: XanGo Juice

15 January 2009

Made with the fruit mangosteen – not to be confused with mangos, which are a different plant- and other juices, it is marketed by the corporation XanGo, LLC which is a multi-level marketing company founded in 2002 and based in Lehi, Utah. They are the current leader in marketing products made from mangosteen juice.

Mangostten is part of a group known as the Guttiferae, a family of mainly tropical trees and shrubs that secrete an acrid yellow resinous juice. Mangosteen’s scientific designation is Garcinia mangostana, named after a French explorer, Jacques Garcin.

Marketing materials for XanGo Juice claim numerous health benefits for humans. These include:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-microbial
  • anti-fungal
  • anti-viral
  • anti-cancer
  • anti-ulcer
  • anti-hepatotoxic
  • anti-rhinoviral
  • anti-allergic effects

Promotional literature for the product claims that antioxidants from the inedible rind of the fruit provide health benefits. But, none of these claims has scientific proof established by peer-reviewed research and human clinical trials.

The company’s website states that “research shows xanthones (an alleged component of XanGo juice) possess potent antioxidant properties that may help maintain intestinal health, strengthen the immune system, neutralize free radicals, help support cartilage and joint function, and promote a healthy seasonal respiratory system”; however, they also add a footnote with the following disclaimer: “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”

Notice how they add the disclaimer at the bottom of the label, likely knowing that the majority of people who even glance at it won’t read it all the way through to the end.

A scientific advisor for the company, David A. Morton, PhD , said in 2006 there is “emerging evidence that mangosteen has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-microbial properties”, yet acknowledged the only study of humans consuming mangosteen juice was conducted as a test of dysentery therapy in Singapore in 1932.

By the way, Dr Morton’s brothers, Joe and Gordon, helped found the company in the first place. It’s just a coincidence, right?

Yeah, right.

In 2007, the Mayo Clinic stated there was laboratory evidence that the xanthones in mangosteen had anti-inflammatory activity, but there was no evidence demonstrating such anti-inflammatory effects in humans. Quoting Mayo Clinic, “”there are no published clinical trials showing evidence that either the fruit or its juice — marketed under the name XanGo juice — is an effective treatment for arthritis, cancer or any other disorder in humans.”.

But, they said it had anti-inflammatory properties, didn’t they? Or maybe they just think it has anti-inflammatory properties?

Well, multi-level marketing companies seldom let inconvenient facts get in the way of profits, don’t they?

As far as XanGo’s effectiveness against cancer, the American Cancer Society’s profile of mangosteen juice states there is no reliable evidence that mangosteen juice, puree, or bark is effective as a treatment for cancer in humans.

And wouldn’t you just know that the government would have to step in at some point and not in a small way either. On September 20, 2006, the United States Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to XanGo LLC in response to the company’s promotion of Xango juice as a drug (meaning that it could treat or prevent a disease, such a cancer or arthritis), in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(g)(1)]. The agency’s letter further warned that Xango juice had not been properly tested for safety and efficacy, and as a proposed new drug it could not be legally sold in the US without prior approval of the FDA, and that the company could face enforcement action including seizure and/or injunction of products or suspension of business. Under FDA drug labeling rules, XanGo LLC, as manufacturer, is responsible for satisfying scientific criteria to make health claims on its product labels and all marketing materials. As far as I know, the case remains open.

Dr. Ralph Moss, author of several natural remedy books, said this in reference to XanGo Juice, “In my opinion, what we have here is simply an overpriced fruit drink.”

On visiting the XanGo website, he heard various claims of the anti-cancer benefits of XanGo given by Dr. J. Frederic Templeman, a Georgia family practitioner who has written a small book on mangosteen.

Dr Templeman mentioned that there are 44 scientific publications on this topic. But, as Dr Morton discovered, there are just 29 articles on the topic of Garcinia mangostana in PubMed, the US National Library of Medicine database which contains over 14 million citations. A total of four of these studies relate to cancer.

An over-priced fruit drink. That pretty much sums it up for me, too.

Look, I’m not saying that people don’t have a right to eat and drink something. Neither am I saying that people and businesses don’t have the right to make money.

But, I draw the line when a company or an individual makes health claims about their product that are either untrue or unverified by science.

As I’ve said in previous entries on health, you can do pretty well for yourself by eating and drinking foods that you can find in your local supermarket. For the cost, you can’t beat sweet potatos, blueberries, strawberries, yams and other foods which have been proven to be good for you. They are less expensive than these fad health foods and do the job that these “alternatives” can only claim to do for you. That is: to keep you healthy and help you live a long life.

You might wonder if there could possibly be any harm in drinking XanGo. You may actually like the taste and don’t mind spending the money. Consider the case of a patient with severe acidosis (acidity of the blood plasma) possibly attributable to a year of daily use of mangosteen juice. The amount the patient drank everyday is not specified and neither is the brand. The drink he consumed was infused with xanthones, as occurs in the manufacture of XanGo juice. The authors of the case report proposed that chronic exposure to alpha-mangostin, a xanthone, could be toxic to mitochondrial function, leading to impairment of cellular respiration and production of lactic acidosis.

And you thought it was just another brand of juice, didn’t you?

No, it’s not a juice. It’s a business and a business exists for the sole purpose of making money.


The #1 Miracle Food Revealed, At Last!!!

13 January 2009

You want a “superfood”?

Okay, I’ll give you one.

This food is rated among the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. High in beta carotene, riboflavin, complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, Vitamins B6 and B5, as well as Vitamin C.

Originally coming from South America, it somehow found its way across the Pacific Ocean to become the staple food of the Maoris of New Zealand and it can be found across Polynesia, where it occupied an important place in the traditional diets of those cultures.

It may even be a beneficial food for diabetics, as preliminary studies on animals have revealed that it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and to lower insulin resistance.

Even Oprah Winfrey advocates Americans eating more of it. So you know it’s got to be good for you, right?

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about the Sweet Potato. I don’t mean yams, as that’s a different species altogether. But, yams are good for you too.

If you’re looking for something that you can add to your daily diet, that’s easily found in most grocery stores and can be prepared in a wide variety of ways, you can’t go wrong with sweet potatos. The best part of it all is that they don’t cost a lot, unlike the stuff multi-level marketers want to sell to you.

I know, you want something you can takes as a pill or drink as a juice, like Acai or Goji. But, the best way to eat any food is in its natural state (okay, you have to boil or bake it, but you understand) and with the wide choices of preparation and cooking, the sweet potato ranks above other vegetables on grocery shelves.

People eat sweet potatos all around the world. from the USA to Japan, to China, across Polynesia and Central and South America, you won’t find any food that has this kind of global acceptance. The best part is: you can eat it too and there are all kinds of cookbooks where you can find new and interesting recipes to try at home.

I know, it doesn’t come from Tibet or a faraway rainforest. But, it is one of the best foods you can add to your diet and you didn’t need some multi-level marketer to tell you about it.

Now available at your local supermarket.