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Friday, December 19, 2014 @ 07:12 AM
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A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis

LESSONS LEARNED BY THE AUTHOR (Part 17)

A statement in the Technological Museum of Thessaloniki
I have been haunted by a statement in the Technological Museum of Thessaloniki quoted from the report by the United Nations Economic and Social Council 5th meeting of the Africa Committee on Sustainable Development held in Addis Ababa 22-25 October 2007: “If land degradation continues at the current pace, it is projected that more than a half of cultivated area in Africa could be unusable by the year 2050 and the region may be able to feed just 25% of its population by 2025.” “In the two northern regions of Ghana severely hit by soil degradation, it is estimated that malnutrition among children increased from 50% in 1986 to 70% in 1990.” Land degradation has continued since that report was issued as each year when there is a strong wind from the south Greece is covered with sand blown up from Africa.

I have a dream #1
I have a dream that Ghana initially, and then every country in Africa, should have a Bahá’í-inspired agricultural-industrial school along the lines of the American Farm School in Thessaloniki in which students would be taught all the skills to ensure that land degradation ceases and all the skills required for agricultural sustainability and self-sufficiency in good, nutritious food. The industrial curriculum would incorporate all the skills required to make a community of the 21st century self-sustaining, including energy independence from fossil fuel sources.

I have a dream #2
President Roosevelt’s four essential freedoms We have been given guidance by President Roosevelt in his four essential freedoms on which the New World must be founded: the first is freedom of speech and expression – everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship his Creator in his own way, everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want of the basic essentials of life. The fourth is freedom from care – meaning a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against a neighbor or another country, anywhere in the world. But that is not enough. I also dream that the continent of Africa will be united under one moral code, that the chasm between the rich and the poor will be closed, that religious strife will cease, that prejudice will be eliminated, and that spiritual values will play an equal role in society to material/technological values.

I have a dream #3
I have a dream that the continent of Africa embraces the Buddha’s ideology of making it obligatory for every able-bodied person to plant and see to the establishment of one tree a year, five years running and extending this to include the reclamation of the Sahara Desert as described by Richard St. Barbe Baker in his book My Life My Trees.

Then I will have made a contribution to leaving the world a better place
If I live long enough to see these three dreams on the way to fulfillment, I can take my leave feeling that I have made a contribution to leaving the world a better place.

Nelson Mandela
The continent of Africa has been given a fabulous start by South Africa’s example through Nelson Mandela’s outstanding leadership in practicing what Jesus taught, most notably by forgiving his enemies and building the new country using their education, talents, expertise and experience. What better up-to-date example could we ask for that there is great wisdom in the foundational beliefs of all religions wherever and whenever they happen to have arisen. Religion works and is highly relevant to our world today.

Thursday, December 18, 2014 @ 06:12 AM
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A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis

LESSONS LEARNED BY THE AUTHOR (Part 16)

My fifth resolution
To accept the fact that global warming, climate change, and weather extremes are the greatest threat to humanity’s future well-being and to work towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and climate stabilization.

My sixth resolution
To accept the fact that there are three kinds of people in the world: those propping up the old world order because it has been extremely profitable to the few; those who are active in building a new civilization; and those who do not know what to do. I will join the ranks of those building an ever-advancing civilization.

My seventh resolution
To live within my means, to be as self-reliant as possible and to divorce myself to the greatest extent possible from the gamblers handling the world’s money.

My eighth resolution
To do everything in my power to assist the implementation of the plan to get all the world’s energy from wind, water and solar power by 2030.

My ninth resolution
Whenever possible to buy food and other products from those who have adopted the philosophy of localized, biodiverse ecological agriculture that reduces greenhouse gas emissions, improves biodiversity, soil, and water, so that I help improve the security of the livelihood of my community.

My tenth resolution
To work for the peace and unity of the world

My eleventh resolution
To accept the fact that the ethical standard of my conduct can be improved and to try to incorporate the golden rule into all my thoughts, words and deeds.

My twelveth resolution
I resolved to assign to prayer the same priority in good times as I had in my bad time in hospital. I have found that prayer is my best avenue to working smart. Without a connection to the Divine I had been using only half of the equipment I was endowed with. It had been as though I was going through life with one hand tied behind my back.

My thirteenth resolution
As I grasped the big picture regarding the ills of this world and their solution, I realized that all the great religions have been given the task of educating humanity how to live successfully and sustainably on Planet Earth. I resolved to continue my education until the day I die, to teach the Bahá’í Writings, to incorporate into my life their wisdom and follow the guidance of the Universal House of Justice – the supreme governing body of the Bahá’ís.
My fourteenth resolution
I resolved to live my life in such a manner that I would be a good role model for my children and others with whom I came in contact.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011 @ 07:11 AM
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FATAL HARVEST

THE TRAGEDY OF INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE

EDITED BY ANDREW KIMBRELL

ISLAND PRESS                   2002

FOUNDATION FOR DEEP ECOLOGY

PART IV

 

CORPORATE LIES: BUSTING THE MYTHS OF INDUSTRIAL AGRICULTURE

Seven Deadly Myths of Industrial Agriculture

Myth Two: Industrial Food Is Safe, Healthy, and Nutritious

THE TRUTH

Industrial agriculture contaminates our vegetables and fruits with pesticides, slips dangerous bacteria into our lettuce, and puts genetically engineered growth hormones into our milk. It is not surprising that cancer, food-borne illnesses, and obesity are at an all-time high.

A modern supermarket produce aisle presents a perfect illusion of food safety. Consistency is a hallmark. Dozens of apples are on display, waxed and polished to a uniform luster, few if any bearing a bruise or dent or other distinguishing characteristics. Nearby sit stacked pyramids of oranges dyed an exact hue to connote ripeness. Perhaps we find a shopper comparing two perfectly similar cellophane-wrapped heads of lettuce, as if trying to distinguish between a set of identical twins. Elsewhere, throughout the store, processed foods sit front and center on perfectly spaced shelves, their bright, attractive cans, jars, and boxes bearing colorful photographs of exquisitely prepared and presented foods. They all look unthreatening, perfectly safe, even good for you. And for decades, agribusiness, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have proclaimed boldly that the United States has the safest food supply in the world.

As with all the myths of industrial agriculture, things are not exactly as they appear. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that between 1970 and 1999, food-borne illness increased more than tenfold. And according to the FDA, at least 53 pesticides classified as carcinogenic are presently applied in massive amounts to our major food crops. While the industrialization of the food supply progresses, we are witnessing an explosion in human health risks and a significant decrease in the nutritional value of our meals.

Increased cancer risk

A central component of the industrialized food system is the large-scale introduction of toxic chemicals. This toxic contamination of our food shows no signs of decreasing. Since 1989, overall pesticide use has risen by about 8%, or 60 million pounds. The use of pesticides that leave residues on food has increased even more. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that more than 1 million Americans drink water laced with pesticide runoff from industrial farms. Our increasing use of these chemicals has been paralleled by an exponential growth in health risks, to both farmers and consumers.

The primary concern associated with this toxic dependency is cancer. The EPA has already identified more than 165 pesticides as potentially carcinogenic, with numerous chemical mixtures remaining untested. Residues from potentially carcinogenic pesticides are left behind on some of our favorite fruits and vegetables – in 1998, the FDA found pesticide residues in over 35% of the food tested. Many U.S. products have tested as being more toxic than those from other countries. What’s worse, current standards for pesticides in food do not yet include specific protections for fetuses, infants, or young children, despite major changes to federal pesticide laws in 1996. requiring such reforms. Many scientists believe that pesticides play a major role in the current cancer “epidemic” among children. And the cancer risk does not just affect consumers; it also imperils tens of thousands of farmers, field hands, and migrant laborers. A National Cancer Institute study found that farmers who used industrial herbicides were six times more likely than non-farmers to develop non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer. Along with their cancer risk, pesticides can cause myriad other health problems, especially for young people. For example, exposure to neurotoxic compounds like PCBs and organophosphate insecticides during critical periods of development can cause permanent, long-term damage to the brain, nervous, and reproductive systems.

Increase in food-borne illnesses

In addition to increased health risks associated with our current pesticide dependency, industrialized food production has also brought with it a rise in food-borne illnesses. Researchers from the CDC estimate that food-borne pathogens now infect up to 80 million people a year and cause over 9,000 deaths in the United Sates alone.

This increase is largely attributed to he industrialization of poultry and livestock production. Most meat products now begin in “animal factories,” where food animals are confined in shockingly inhumane and overly crowded conditions, leading to widespread disease among animals and the creation of food-borne illnesses. According to the CDC, reported cases of disease from Salmonella and E. coli pathogens are ten times greater than they were two decades ago, and cases of campylobacter have more than doubled. The CDC saw none of these pathogens in meat until the late 1970s when “animal factories” became the dominant means of meat production. Even our fruits and vegetables get contaminated by these pathogens through exposure to tainted fertilizers and sewage sludge. Contamination can also occur during industrialized processing and long-distance shipment.

The use of antibiotics in farm animal production may also be accelerating the alarming growth of antibiotic resistance exhibited by dangerous pathogens. Residues of these veterinary antibiotics that make their way into our food supply may confer resistance upon bacteria responsible for a wide variety of human maladies. Infections resistant to antibiotics are now the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. Guided by popular media reports, we may hastily conclude that doctors, by overprescribing antibiotics for people, are solely to blame for growing resistance. This assessment, however, ignores the fact that nearly 50% of U.S. antibiotics are given to animals, not people.

Killer foods

The introduction of fast, processed, and frozen foods in the 1950s has forever changed our dietary habits. At least 175,000 fast-food restaurants have sprouted among the gas stations, strip malls, and convenience stores of America’s ever creeping suburban sprawl. Frozen diners, prepackaged meals, and take-out burgers have, for many people, replaced the home-cooked meal. Consequently, people are consuming more calories, preservatives, and sugar than ever in history, while reducing their intake of fresh whole fruits and vegetables. It is no mystery that these changes have led to overwhelming increases in obesity, Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease among Americans. About one in three Americans is overweight, and obesity is now at epidemic levels in the United States. According to a joint New York University/Center for Science in the Public Interest report “added sugars – found largely in junk foods such as soft drinks, cakes, and cookies – squeeze healthier foods out of the diet. That sugar now accounts for 16% of the calories consumed by the average American and 20% of teenagers’ calories. Twenty years ago, teens consumed almost twice as much milk as soda; today they consume almost twice as much soda as milk.” The Surgeon General has determined that two out of every three premature deaths is related to diet.

New Technologies: A cleaner curse

The purveyors of industrial food, when confronted with the health crisis that their food has caused, respond by assuring us that new industrial technologies will be a quick fix. For example, in response to the huge increase in food-borne illnesses, the industry promotes the use of irradiation to sanitize our foods. Through this technology, the average hamburger, for example, may receive the equivalent of millions of chest X rays in an attempt to temporarily remove any potential bacterial contaminants. However, as the meat continues to flow through the industrial food supply, it loses its “protection” and is quickly subject to additional contamination. Meanwhile, numerous reputable studies have shown that consuming irradiated meat can cause DNA damage, resulting in abnormalities in laboratory animals and their offspring. Moreover, irradiation can destroy essential vitamins and nutrients that are naturally present in foods and can make food taste and smell rancid.

Contrary to our government’s announcement, industrial food is not safe. It is, in fact, becoming increasingly deadly and devoid of nutrition. Ultimately, we cannot achieve food safety through simple political fiat or technological quick fixes. Increased dependence on chemical, nuclear, or genetically engineered inputs will only intensify the problem. The real solution is a return to sound organic agricultural practices, it turns out that food production that is safe for the environment, humane to animals, and based in community and independence is also a food supply that is safe and nutritious for humans.

 

Myth Three: Industrial Food is Cheap

 

Saturday, July 9, 2011 @ 07:07 AM
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THE EARTHSCAN READER IN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

EDITED BY JULES PRETTY

EARTHSCAN          2005

PART VII

 

PART IV: PERSPECTIVES FROM INDUSTRIALIZED COUNTRIES

Perspective 20: Diet and Health: Diseases and Food by Tim Lang and Michael Heasman

Let Reason rule in man, and he dares not trespass against his fellow-creature, but will do as he would be done unto. For Reason tells him, is thy neighbour hungry and naked today, do thou feed him and clothe him, it may be thy case tomorrow, and then he will be ready to help thee.

Gerrard Winstanley, English Leveller, 1609-1676

Core arguments

The Productionist paradigm is critically flawed in respect of human health. Half a century ago it responded to issues then seen as critical but which now require radical revision. While successfully raising the calorific value of the world food supply, it has failed to address the issue of quality, and as a result, there is now a worldwide legacy of externalized ill-health costs. The world’s human health profile is now very mixed. Within the same populations, in both developed and developing countries, there exists diet-related disease due both to under- and over-consumption. The pattern of diet that 30 years ago was associated with he affluent West is increasingly appearing in the developing countries, in a phenomenon known as the ‘nutrition transition’: while the incidence of certain diet-related diseases has decreased, such a heart disease in the West, others are increasing, particularly diabetes and obesity worldwide, and heart disease in the developing world. Massive global inequities in income and expectations contribute to this double burden of disease, and current policies are failing to address it.

Introduction

One of the key Food Wars is over the impact of the modern diet on human health. In the last quarter of the 20th century, nutrition moved from the sidelines of public health to being central to the marketing of foodstuffs, and major public health campaigns urged consumers to improve their diets.

This human health dimension is central to our critique of the Productionist paradigm in two respects. First, even though global food production has increased to meet caloric needs, its nutritional content may be less than desirable. Second, food distribution remains deficient: nearly a billion people remain malnourished. In this chapter, we explore the relationship between diet and the range of disease and illnesses that are associated with food choices. We discuss, too, the existence of gross inequalities within and between countries in the form of food poverty amidst food abundance and wealth.

In late 2002 and 2003, a wave of new public health reports reminded the world that diet is a major factor in the causes of death and morbidity. Although deeply unpalatable to some sections of the food industry, these reports were sober reminders of the enormity and scale of the public health crisis. The joint WHO and FAO’s 2003 report on diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases drew attention to high prevalence of diseases which could be prevented by better nutrition, including:

v  obesity;

v  diabetes;

v  cardiovascular diseases;

v  cancers;

v  osteoporosis and bone fractures;

v  dental disease.

Of course, these diseases are not solely exacerbated by poor diet but also by lack of physical activity. In truth this report was only reiterating the story of nutrition’s impact on public health that had been rehearsed for many years, and the evidence for which was judged to be remarkably sound, but as Dr Gro-Harlem Brundtland, then the Director-General of the WHO, stated in the report: ‘What is new is that we are laying down the foundation for a global policy response.” To this end, the WHO set up an international consultation dialogue to prepare its global strategy on diet, physical activity and health, scheduled to be launched in 2004. By international agency standards, this relatively speedy shift from evidence to policy making indicates the real urgency of the problem. The draft strategy was launched ahead of schedule in December 2003.

Already by 2002, the WHO had produced a major review of the national burdens that such disease cause. Of the top ten risk factors associated with non-communicable diseases, food and drink contribute to eight (with the two remaining – tobacco and unsafe sex – not associated with diet and food intake):

v  blood pressure;

v  cholesterol;

v  underweight;

v  fruit and vegetable intake;

v  high body mass index;

v  physical inactivity;

v  alcohol;

v  unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene.

The 2003 World Cancer Report, the most comprehensive global examination of the disease to date, the WHO stated that cancer rates could further increase by 50% to 15 million new cases in 2020. To stem the rise of this toll, the WHO and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (the IARC) argued that 3 issues in particular need to be tackled:

v  tobacco consumption (still the most important immediate avoidable risk to health).

v  Healthy lifestyle and diet, in particular the frequent consumption of fruit and vegetables and the taking of physical activity; early detection and screening of diseases to allow prevention and cure.

v  In addition to these UN reports, the International Association for the Study of Obesity (the IASO) revised its figures of the global obesity pandemic: it estimates that 1.7 billion people are overweight or obese, a 50% increase on previous estimates. The IASO’s International Obesity Task Force stated that the revised figures meant that most governments were simply ignoring one of the biggest risks to world population health.

These reports testify to an extensive body of research and evidence from diverse sources around the world of the link between food availability, consumption styles and specific patterns of disease and illness. Table 20.1 confirms some of the diet-related causes of death throughout the world. Good health and longevity were intended to result from ensured sufficiency of supply; at the beginning of the 21st century, far from diet-related ill health being banished from the policy agenda, it appears to be experiencing a renewed crisis.

  • Under the old Productionist paradigm, the main focus was under-nutrition. At the end of the 20th century, with disease and obesity rampant, a new focus must be placed on diet and inappropriate eating.
  • The developed world must now confront one of the most challenging food and health disasters ever to face humankind: an epidemic of obesity and the prospect of a new wave of diet-related disease.
  • A 1995 FAO review stated: ‘Hunger persists in developing countries at a time when global food production has evolved to a stage when sufficient food is produced to meet the needs of every person on the planet.’
  • Over-consumption and under-consumption coexist. There is gross inequality of global distribution and availability of food energy. Diseases associated with deficient diet account for 60% of years of life lost in the established market economies.

 

The nutrition transition

In a series of papers, Professor Barry Popkin and his colleagues have argued that there is what they term a ‘nutrition transition’ occurring in the developing world, associated primarily with rising wealth. The thesis, which has been extensively supported by country and regional studies, argues simply that diet-related ill health previously associated with the affluent West is now becoming increasingly manifest in developing countries. The ‘nutrition transition’ suggests shifts in diet from one pattern to another: for example, from a restricted diet to one that is high in saturated fat, sugar and refined foods, and low in fibre. This transition is associated with two other historic processes of change: the demographic and epidemiological transitions. Demographically, world populations have shifted from patterns of high fertility and high mortality to patterns of low fertility and low mortality. In the epidemiological transition, there is a shift from a pattern of disease characterized by infections, malnutrition and episodic famine to a pattern of disease with a high rate of the chronic and degenerative diseases. This change of disease pattern is associated with a shift from rural to urban and industrial lifestyle.

  • Consumers might enjoy the new variety of foods that greater wealth offers but they are often unaware of the risk of disease than can follow.

Nutrition may have recently become a key notion in modern dietary thinking but it only echoes the insights of an earlier generation of researchers which included nutrition and public health pioneers such as Professors Trowell and Burkitt, whose observations from the 1950s to the 1980s led them to question ‘whether Western influence in Africa, Asia, Central and South America and the Far East is unnecessarily imposing our diseases on other populations who are presently relatively free of them.’

  • In Saudi Arabia meat consumption doubled and fat consumption tripled between the mid-1970s and the early 1990s.

In China, the national health profile began to follow a more Western pattern of diet-related disease as the population gradually urbanized, coinciding with an increase in degenerative diseases. Consumption of legumes such as soyabean was replaced by animal protein in the form of meat. One expert nutritional review of this problem concluded that exhorting the Chinese people to consume more soy when they were voting with their purses to eat more meat would be ineffective ‘in the context of an increasingly free and global market’. Such studies can suggest that the battle to prevent Western diseases in the developing world appears already to have been lost. If the nutrition transition is weakening health in China, the world’s most populous and fastest economically growing nation, which has 22% of the world’s population but only 7% of its land, what chance is there for diet-related health improvements throughout the developing world?

  • As populations become richer, they substitute cereal foods for higher-value protein foods such as milk, dairy products and meat, increased consumption of which is associated with Westernization of ill health.

 

Three categories of malnutrition: underfed, overfed, and badly fed

More than 2 billion people in the world today have their lives blighted by nutritional inadequacy. On one hand, half of this number do not have enough to eat; on the other hand, a growing army of people exhibit the symptoms of overfeeding and obesity. In both cases, the international communities are floundering for solutions, and malnutrition results, as indicated by the following table.

One of the particularly tragic consequences of undernourishment is its impact on the world’s children. UNICEF calculates that 800 million children suffer malnutrition at any given time. High proportions of Asian and African mothers are undernourished, largely due to seasonal food shortages, especially in Africa. About 243 million adults in developing countries are deemed to be severely undernourished. This type of adult under-nutrition can impair work capacity and lower resistance to infection.

Against a rapid growth in world population, well-informed observers agree that greater food production is needed for the future. One estimate suggests that by 2020 there will be 1 billion young people growing up with impaired mental development due to poor nutrition. At a conservative estimate, this means there will be 40 million young people added to the total each year.

The obesity epidemic

As early as 1948, there were medical international groups researching the incidence of obesity in various countries.

  • Today, overweight and obesity are key risk factors for chronic and non-communicable diseases.
  • In developing countries obesity is more common amongst people of higher socio-economic status and in those living in urban communities.
  • In more affluent countries, it is associated with lower socio-economic status, especially amongst women and rural communities.

By 2000, the WHO was expressing alarm that more than 300 million people were defined as obese, with 750 million overweight, ie pre-obese: over a billion people deemed overweight or obese globally. But by 2003, this figure had been radically revised upwards when the International Association for the Study of Obesity (the IASO) calculated that up to 1.7 billion people were now overweight or obese.

  • In 2003, 6.3% of US women, that is 1 in 16, were morbidly obese, with a body mass index of 40 or more.
  • Figure 20.9 shows how, in a remarkably short time, the rate of obesity within countries is rising.
  • Rising obesity rates among children are particularly troubling to health professionals, as this trend suggests massive problems of degenerative disease for the future.
  • In Jamaica and Chile 1 in 10 children is obese.
  • A child’s weight can be thrown off balance by a daily consumption of only one sugar-sweetened soft drink of 120kcals; over 10 years, this intake would turn into 50kg of excess growth.
  • Health education seems to be powerless before this rising tide of obesity.
  • As far back as 1986, the economic costs of illness associated with overweight in the US were estimated to be $39 billion; today the estimated cost of obesity and overweight is about $117 billion.
  • The rise in US obesity is dramatic: between 1991 and 2001, adult obesity increased by 74%.

 

The connection between overweight and health risk is alarmingly highlighted by the following list of the physical ailments that an overweight population (with a BMI higher than 25) is at risk of:

v  High blood pressure, hypertension;

v  High blood cholesterol, dyslipidemia;

v  Type-II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes;

v  Insulin resistance, glucose intolerance;

v  Hyperinsulinaemia;

v  Coronary heart disease;

v  Angina pectoris;

v  Congestive heart failure;

v  Stroke; gallstones;

v  Cholescystitis and cholelithiasis;

v  Gout;

v  Osteoarthritis;

v  Obstructive sleep apnea and respiratory problems;

v  Some types of cancer (such as endometrial, breast, prostate and colon);

v  Complications of pregnancy; poor female reproductive health (such as menstrual irregularities, infertility and irregular ovulation);

v  Bladder control problems (such as stress incontinence);

v  Uric acid nephrolithiasis;

v  Psychological disorders (such as depression, eating disorders, distorted body image, and low self esteem).

  • The ill-health that results is paid for either in direct costs or in societal drag – lost opportunities, inequalities and lost efficiencies. This is why policy makers have to get to grips with obesity and the world’s weight problem.

 

Both obesity and overweight are preventable. At present the debate about obesity is divided about which of three broad strategies of action is the best to address. One strand argues that it is a problem caused by over-consumption (diet and the types of food) and over-supply; another that it is lack of physical activity; and the third that there might be a matter of genetic predisposition. Certainly the emphasis has to be on changing the environmental determinants that allow obesity to happen. A pioneering analysis by Australian researchers in the mid-1990s proposed that the obesity pandemic could only be explained in ‘ecological’ terms: Professor Garry Egger and Boyd Swinburn set out environmental determinants such as transport, pricing and supply; they claimed that environmental factors were so powerful in upsetting energy balances that obesity could be viewed as ‘a normal response to an abnormal environment’. So finely balanced are caloric intake and physical activity that even slight alterations in their levels can lead to weight gain. Swinburn and Egger assert that no amount of individual exhortation will reduce worldwide obesity; transport, neighborhood layout, home environments, fiscal policies and other alterations of supply chains must be tackled instead.

Calculating the burden of diet-related disease

During the 1990s, world attention was given to calculating the costs of what has been called ‘the burden of disease’. Five of the ten leading causes of death in the world’s most economically advanced country, the US, were, by the 1980s, diet-related: coronary heart disease, some types of cancer, stroke, diabetes mellitus and atherosclerosis. Another three – cirrhosis of the liver, accidents and suicides – were associated with excessive alcohol intake. Together these diseases were accounting for nearly 1.5 million of the 2.1 million deaths in the US. Only two categories in the top ten – chronic obstructive lung disease and pneumonia and influenza – had no food connection.

  • In a 1990s study published by the World Bank, The Global Burden of Disease, heart disease accounted for 6.26 million deaths; stroke 4.38 million; acute respiratory infections 4.3 million; and cancers 6 million.

 

The financial costs

  • Health care costs are rising rapidly in many developed and developing economies. Growth of health expenditures is sometimes higher than the growth pf GDP. Health ministries are locked in a model which tends to be curative rather than preventative.
  • The UK health care system costs £68 billion for around 60 million people and is anticipated to rise to £184 billion by 2022-2023.

 

Coronary heart disease (CHD)

Food-related cancers

Diabetes

Food safety and foodborne diseases

  • Food safety problems include risks from: veterinary drug and pesticide residues; food additives; pathogens; environmental toxins; persistent organic pollutants such as dioxins; and unconventional agents such as prions associated with BSE.

 

Food poverty in the Western world

  • The new era of globalization has unleashed a reconfiguration of social divisions both between and within countries. Food poverty in the UK is far higher than any other EU country, where inequalities of income and health widened under the Conservative government of 1979-1997.
  • This was the converse of the post-World War II years of Keynesian social democratic policies during which inequalities narrowed.
  • During the 1990s, 11 million Americans lived in households which were ‘food insecure’ with a further 23 million living in households which were ‘food insecure without hunger’. At least 4 million children under 12 were hungry and an additional 9.6 million were at risk of hunger during at least one month of the year.
  • The US spent over $25 billion on federal and state programmes to provide extra food for its 25 million citizens in need of nutritional support.

 

Implications for policy

  • For policy makers, the uncomfortable fact is that the pattern of diet-related diseases appears to be closely associated with the Productionist paradigm.
  • Whilst the paradigm had as its objective the need to produce enough food to feed people, its harvest of ill health was mainly sown in the name of economic development.
  • The public health message is clear: if diet is inappropriate or inadequate, population ill health will follow.
  • Diet is one of the most alterable factors in human health, but despite strong evidence for intervention, public policy has only implemented lesser measures such as labelling and health education while the supply chain remains legitimised to produce the ingredients of heart disease, cancer, obesity and their diet-related degenerative diseases.
  • Policy attention needs to shift from the overwhelming focus, enshrined in the Productionist paradigm, on under-consumption and under-supply to a new focus on the relationship between the over-supply of certain foodstuffs, excessive marketing and malconsumption, and to do so simultaneously within and between countries.
  • The food supply chain must be re-framed and must target wider, more health-appropriate goals.
  • While the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserted the right to food health for all, even into the new millennium the call is still not being adequately met, and, for humanity’s sake, it must now be pursued with more vigour.

 

Thursday, January 20, 2011 @ 03:01 AM
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Book review
 
Leo Hickman in A Good Life: The Guide to Ethical Living points out that: “Ethical living means taking personal responsibility; considering ‘sustainability’ of everything you do; making sure that your actions do not have a negative influence on you or the wider world; reducing one’s demand for resources; consuming a fairer and more proportionate slice of the pie; leading more considerate, thoughtful lives.” “In 2001 humanity’s ecological footprint exceeded global biocapacity by 21%. If the whole world lived as Americans do we would need 6 Earths to meet the demand for natural resources.” “For each cow raised within the EU, the farmer receives about €2 a day in subsidies – more than the daily income of 75% of Africans.” “Our choice about what we eat is one of the most important, and most frequent, ethical decisions we can make.” “About 51 billion animals were slaughtered in 2003 – 10 animals a year for every person on the planet. 70% of the world’s agricultural land and one third of the world’s grain crop is used to rear livestock.” “It takes 24 acres (9.7 hectares) of land to sustain an American, 9 acres (3.6 hectares) an Italian and just under an acre (0.4 hectares) for an Indian.”

In Proof Positive: How to Reliably Combat Disease & Achieve Optimal Health Through Nutrition & Lifestyle Neil Nedley, M.D. we learn that “There is 15% less chronic diseases among vegetarians when compared to non-vegetarians. Athletes were fed different diets for 3 days and their endurance tested to exhaustion.

v  The high protein and high fat diet (high in meat) gave 57 minutes

v  A mixed diet (lower meat, fat and protein) gave 1 hour 54 minutes

v  A vegetarian diet (high carbo-hydrate) gave 2 hours 47 minutes

Vegetarian elephants can run at 25mph for 10-12 hours while meat-eating big cats such as cheetahs and tigers have good initial speed but fatigue within a short time.”

In Why You Don’t Need Meat by Peter Cox provides additional reasons why we should be cautious about our meat intake. Here are some snippets: “Meat is a terribly wasteful commodity. For every 100 pounds of plant protein that we feed to cows (soya beans and other animal feed), only 5 pounds of it is converted into meat. The rest – 95 pounds – is turned into slurry. What a criminal waste of basic food in a hungry world.” “The evidence was now absolutely conclusive. DES could cause cancer and a wide variety of other diseases in the children of women who had been unlucky enough to be dosed. But it didn’t necessarily show up for years – sometimes in children as young as 7, but sometimes not until the mid or late twenties. For the poor children, it was a silent time bomb, ticking away for years, until something (often puberty) happened to make it go off. It is estimated that about 2 million women were treated with DES before the full facts were known. But where human greed is concerned, some people will always want just a little bit more, regardless of the cost in suffering or human life.” “From the meat producer’s point of view, the attraction of DES as a drug is that it is a terrifically powerful growth promoter – it can make an animal put on weight incredibly quickly. And more weight equals more profit.” “The doctor sighs, and tells her. He’s seen lots of cases like this recently. Her son is one of over 900 young boys, aged between 6 and 10, who show the same symptoms (growth of breasts). And there are over 2000 young girls – 6 years of age – who are also affected. That’s 1,100 young children, just in Milan, who have begun to develop breasts. The cause? Something about a greedy meat producer who gave his veal calves too much of a drug called DES.”

WHY YOU DON’T NEED MEAT

PETER COX

THORSONS PUBLISHING GROUP                    1986

PART I

In this comprehensive analysis of the role that meat plays in our diet – how it got there and why we no longer need it – Peter Cox in Why You Don’t Need Meat presents medical evidence about the effect that meat consumption is having on our health, including its connection with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and other killers of Western civilization. He exposes the shameful abuses of animal growth hormones and antibiotics that now contaminate up to 80% of the meat on sale. This is a positive book that can change your life for the better. It will show you how to construct a healthier, nutritionally balanced diet without meat, and how your personal action can start to solve the crisis of world hunger that we now face.

 

Introduction

  • Every year in this country the meat industry spends a staggering sum of money – running into countless millions of pounds – trying to ensure that you keep on eating meat. When I worked in the advertising business we’d call it ‘saturation coverage’. So in comparison, the millions they spend on promotion is really quite small – almost chicken feed in fact.
  • Quite simply, they can’t afford to let you stop buying it, or even to allow you to cut back on the quantity you buy. And they will do virtually anything they can to prevent you from changing your buying habits.
  • Joe came back from school not wanting to eat meat because it involved killing animals. A few days later, Joe’s mother found herself in the doctor’s surgery. “Don’t worry about it”, he advised her. “I’d prefer Joe to stop eating hamburgers rather than to stop eating fresh vegetables. He’s growing, but he can get all the nourishment he needs from a meatless diet”.
  • Many say their arthritis disappears by giving up meat. Rheumatic and aching joints are eased. People chronically ill, some with cancer, are experimenting with a fresh food diet, and getting physical and spiritual renewal from it. Other people – those who are concerned about our world and environment – are also acting in a personal way to try and bring about positive change.
  • Meat is a terribly wasteful commodity. For every 100 pounds of plant protein that we feed to cows (soya beans and other animal feed), only 5 pounds of it is converted into meat. The rest – 95 pounds – is turned into slurry. What a criminal waste of basic food in a hungry world.
  • But even so, most people still don’t know the complete story. They don’t know the full horror of an industry that puts profit before health and morality. They don’t realize the overwhelming weight of evidence against meat – evidence that I’ve pieced together from all over the world, and which has never before been assembled and made public in such a comprehensive way.

 

Chapter 1: Connections

  • “You know,” said the paediatrician, ‘I’m seeing more cases of vaginal cancer in young girls than I’ve ever seen before. It makes me think that there must be some sort of common factor to it. Nothing I can track it down to, though.”
  • “Really?”, said the gynaecologist. “I suppose you’ve checked on their mother’s medical history, have you?” “These girls are all going through puberty. I can’t imagine that anything their mothers would have done 10 to 15 years ago could make a difference now. Although most of them were difficult pregnancies. I think quite a lot of them took stilboestrol.”
  • “It’s an artificial hormone. I’m sure its safe. There’s been at least one study about it. We used to prescribe stilboestrol for certain complications, but the thinking nowadays is that it doesn’t seem to make much difference except to make the pregnancy a bit longer.”
  • A few days later the two doctors met up again. The drug – diethyl stilboestrol – was now their main topic of conversation, and they were both very excited about the pattern they could see emerging. They found that diethyl stilboestrol (or DES for short) had been prescribed to women ever since a paper published in an American gynaecological journal had recommended it to prevent repeated reproductive failures and other complications of pregnancy.
  • They found that a clinical trial of the artificial hormone, involving some 2000 women from 1950 to 1952, had concluded that it had no effect on pregnancies except to prolong them a little. But there was no mention of side effects. Then, in 1971, the evidence started to fit together. A previously rare cancer, clear-cell adenocarcinoma, began to be seen with increasing frequency in young women who had been born between 1946 and 1951, and whose mothers had been given DES.
  • Then other, non-cancerous changes in the genital tracts of other young girls began to be reported, too. And finally, it was also proven that tumorous effects could even be traced in the sons of women who had been treated with the hormone. Cases of prostate cancer, male bladder cancer and cancer of the testicles were diagnosed and positively associated with DES.
  • The evidence was now absolutely conclusive. DES could cause cancer and a wide variety of other diseases in the children of women who had been unlucky enough to be dosed. But it didn’t necessarily show up for years – sometimes in children as young as 7, but sometimes not until the mid or late twenties. For the poor children, it was a silent time bomb, ticking away for years, until something (often puberty) happened to make it go off.
  • It is estimated that about 2 million women were treated with DES before the full facts were known. But where human greed is concerned, some people will always want just a little bit more, regardless of the cost in suffering or human life.

 

The meat connection

  • From the meat producer’s point of view, the attraction of DES as a drug is that it is a terrifically powerful growth promoter – it can make an animal put on weight incredibly quickly. And more weight equals more profit.
  • We pick up the thread of the next connection in a doctor’s surgery in Milan, in early 1978. The doctor sighs, and tells her. He’s seen lots of cases like this recently. Her son is one of over 900 young boys, aged between 6 and 10, who show the same symptoms (growth of breasts). And there are over 2000 young girls – 6 years of age – who are also affected.
  • That’s 1,100 young children, just in Milan, who have begun to develop breasts. The cause? Something about a greedy meat producer who gave his veal calves too much of a drug called DES.
  • Puerto Rico 1979. Like the Milan case, children were starting to show signs of grossly premature sexual development. All the children were under 8 years of age, yet they were developing breasts, starting to go through puberty, and show high levels of the sex hormone oestrogen in their blood. Some of the young girls had ovarian cysts. Some of these symptoms were even seen in girls who were just 6 months old.
  • Perhaps one of the most poignant symptoms was that many of them had advanced ‘bone age’. Growth hormones like DES are known to accelerate the ageing process – and these young people’s bodies were getting old before their time. DES was – quite literally – robbing them of their youth.
  • At first the authorities tried to deny that DES was the cause of the scandal. They reported that DES just couldn’t be the cause of the problem. But one local doctor knew differently. She knew that DES was strongly implicated in the disaster and set out to prove it. She hired a private detective and quickly confirmed that you could buy DES just about everywhere, no questions asked. It was being used by farmers in a really big way – they thought of it as a ‘miracle drug’ that boosted their profits no end. The nightmare is not yet over for Puerto Rico.
  • If by now you are feeling angry about this sordid hormone business, you will be even more outraged by the current situation that exists here and now in Great Britain. First, let’s reconsider what we’ve learnt about DES – and remember, this knowledge has been learnt the hard way, by performing experiments on unknowing human subjects.
  • We know that DES can be a long-term timebomb, whose symptoms may not be revealed for anything up to 29 years after a dose has been received. We know that DES is quite capable of causing cancer and other mutations in the children of women who have been exposed to it during their pregnancy. We also know that DES can cause grossly premature sexual development and ageing in very young children. So why is it still being used by the people who produce our meat?

 

The hormone risk business

  • This is the current picture as it exists in Great Britain and the rest of the European Economic Community, today. DES is not supposed to be used on livestock, although it is common knowledge that it still is.
  • There is no clinical or therapeutic reason for giving animals growth promoters. It is not in the interest of consumers. It adds to the already colossal meat mountain within the EEC. But it is very much in the interests of meat producers who get at least £30 more profit per cow.
  • Testing an animal’s carcass for DES-type residue costs £100 per animal, although a new test brings it down to £5. But the Americans use hormones in a big way, selling over 100 million pounds of beef to European countries and they have threatened ‘grave retaliations’ if this trade is jeopardized.
  • The large pharmaceutical companies profit from the use of synthetic hormones. Each time attempts have been made to impose a total prohibition on the use of growth hormones, attempts have been blocked. The consumer has two choices – to eat meat mildly contaminated with growth hormones or meat that may be extremely contaminated with growth hormones. Some choice.
  • Estimates range between 30% and 80% of meat intended for domestic consumption has had hormones implanted. Research was being conducted on the effects of eating meat contaminated with growth hormones on human beings but the government decided to scrap it.

 

Winning the battle but losing the war

  • On December 20 1985, the Council of Ministers of the EEC finally agreed to overrule Britain’s objection, and gave approval to a prohibition of the use of growth promoting hormones on meat animals. Britain obtained special exemption from the ban until 1989. There is a booming black market in animal growth hormones in this country. A drug like DES is not difficult to make in an illicit laboratory and the profits make the risk worthwhile.
  • In most countries there has never been any prosecutions for illegal manufacture or trading in DES. Inspectors have discovered 5 major drug rings within the last 10 years. The usual fine does not exceed a few thousand pounds. No trafficker has ever been sent to goal.
  • It seems as if the only group within society who will benefit when hormones finally become illegal will be the person who peddles the drugs – and of course the meat industry which keeps him in business.
  • You may have wondered why it is that no tests are performed on the carcasses of animals to establish whether they are contaminated. Well, a few tests are performed. My information is that 300 are carried out every year. 300 tests – on an industry that kills and processes 1,400,000 animals each day.
  • But the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food seems quite satisfied with this amount. They say it would be impossible to do any more because no cheap test has been devised to detect hormones on a larger basis. And it is unlikely that any such test will be developed – because the only place of research in the world that was developing such a test – the Institute for Research in Animal Diseases has had its funding cut away.
  • It’s not surprising that the cynics are saying that the European decision to ban hormones has, in reality, more to do with trying to reduce the EEC’s massive 75,000 tonne beef mountain, than with protecting the legitimate interests of the consumers.

 

The Darkness Deepens

  • All these connections are coming together to paint a very dark picture indeed. A chance meeting between two doctors in a hospital lift; the tragic cases of 1100 little boys and girls in Milan; a Puerto Rican doctor who was so horrified by what she saw in her surgery that she hired a private detective to investigate; and the shabby political manoeuvrings within the EEC.
  • It is a story of powerful interests acting to protect themselves and their profits, regardless of the true cost to the consumer. In the meat industry it’s a depressingly familiar pattern. By the time you’ve finished reading this book, it’s quite likely that many of your preconceptions about meat (and about the people who sell it) will have been shattered.
  • We tend to think of it as a ‘pure’ food, possessing a high degree of nourishment, and virtually an indispensable part of the modern diet. So, of course, when we learn about it being contaminated with a substance such as DES, we are quite naturally shocked.
  • This image of meat as being ‘essential’ and ‘wholesome’ is a relatively recent one, owing much to the long periods of scarcity when meat was virtually unobtainable both during and after the second world war – a period which, ironically, was one of the healthiest in recent British history. Let’s take a closer look at this ‘mythology’ of meat and find out just how close it is to reality.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011 @ 05:01 AM
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Book review

In Proof Positive: How to Reliably Combat Disease & Achieve Optimal Health Through Nutrition & Lifestyle Neil Nedley, M.D. we learn that “The World Health Organization states that a program is needed of ‘primordial’ prevention; that is, do something about it before the epidemic occurs. It is possible to reduce coronary heart disease risk by 90% and cancer risk by as much as 80%. Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in lifestyle. Everything depends on the right action of the will. Through the use of the information presented here in making proper choices, disease can not only be prevented, but many also will be able to regain health that they have lost.”

PROOF POSITIVE
HOW TO RELIABLY COMBAT DISEASE AND ACHIEVE OPTIMAL HEALTH THROUGH NUTRITION AND LIFESTYLE
NEIL NEDLEY, M.D.

Note
Information provided below is taken from the CD-ROM version of the book. Purchasers of the CD-ROM version have the right – and are encouraged – to use all the material for teaching purposes. What follows is just a few snippets.

Responsible Medicine
Recent research has given us new tools that help us stay healthy and live life to the fullest. Serious illness such as heart disease and cancer are dramatically influenced by the food and lifestyle choices we make each day. This book addresses the universal problem of personal health and disease and speaks to any person who wishes to attain (or maintain) good health and freedom from disease by natural means, minimizing the use of prescription drugs, food supplements, and diet fads.

Purpose
 To demonstrate the impact of nutrition and other lifestyle factors on overall health
 To show how certain common (and sometimes uncommon) diseases can often be completely prevented or helped by certain lifestyle changes without prescription drugs and their accompanying side effects
 To enhance the reader’s satisfaction and enjoyment of life by providing motivation and guidance for adopting rewarding lifestyle changes that are in agreement with timeless biblical principles and those of modern science
 To present scientific documentation of the thrust of this book, taking it out of the realm of opinion or fad and into the realm of solid, reliable fact
 To provide a reliable, well documented source book with useful, up-to-date information for health professionals, assisting them in educating the public.
 To make all of the figures in this book available in transparency, slide, or computer presentation form to health educators and others for their use in presentations to other health professionals or to the general public through the CD-ROM version.

Principles for Optimal Health
An overwhelming amount of scientific research clearly demonstrates that our daily choices affect our likelihood of living a long and healthy life. For the vast majority of us, our health is primarily dependent upon two factors: what we put into our bodies; and what we do with our bodies. A simple word that encapsulates both of these concepts is ‘lifestyle’.

The nine leading causes of death are largely related to lifestyle choices
We recognize the necessity of proper care to get the longest life and best performance out of our automobiles. When will we realize that proper care also gives our bodies the longest life and best performance? The nine leading causes of death are largely related to lifestyle choices; the root causes of death are largely unhealthy lifestyles. Many deaths due to infectious diseases are caused by an immune system that is weakened by a poor lifestyle.

Prevention is the key
A wealth of scientific research has confirmed that most of the leading causes of death are preventable. The first Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health in 1988 stated ‘dietary excess and imbalance contributed to eight of the leading killer diseases.’

Seven lifestyle factors influence how long people live
 sleep 7 to 8 hours
 no eating between meals
 eat breakfast regularly
 maintain proper weight
 regular exercise
 moderate use of alcohol
 no smoking

Life expectancy and health age
A 50-year-old who embraces enough health and lifestyle factors may have the same health or physiologic age as the average 35-year-old. If you follow 2 of the 7 health habits your health age is 40 + 19.4 = 59, indicating a dramatic shortening of your life expectancy. If you follow 7 of the habits your health age is 40- 12.9 or 27. The concept of health age illustrates how much our lifestyle can either hasten or slow the aging process.

Cancer can be prevented
A diagnosis of cancer is not always a death sentence. Cancer is currently the #2 killer in the US after heart disease. Unless we as a nation make positive lifestyle changes, soon after the year 2000 it could be the #1 cause of death. The degree of risk of an individual to develop cancer is largely a matter of lifestyle decisions. The total number of cancer deaths in America have risen steadily from about 150,000 in 1940 to about 560,000 in 1997. The rate of rise is dramatic, doubling in the last 30 years. Most cancer victims could have prevented their illness had they paid attention to some simple lifestyle factors.

Prevention of cancer
The number of cancer deaths per capita in the US peaked in 1999 and has started to decline. Cancer prevention and not cancer treatment emerges as the cause for this good news. A national commitment to the prevention of cancer, largely replacing reliance on hopes for universal cures is now the way to go.

Recognizing cancer’s symptoms
 A change in bowel or bladder habits
 A sore that does not heal
 Unusual bleeding or discharge
 Thickening of a lump in the breast or elsewhere
 Indigestion or difficulty swallowing
 Obvious change in a wart or mole
 Nagging cough or hoarseness

Avoid factors that favor cancer development
Alcohol and its breakdown products have cancer-causing potential and undermine the immune system. Environmental factors refer to any factors apart from our internal body processes and inherited tendencies that affect us – air, water, food, exercise, sexual habits, social relationships, etc. The vast majority of cancers can be prevented if we pay attention to the things we put into our bodies, the things we allow our bodies to come in contact with, and the things we do with our bodies.

Education
We need to bolster educational efforts to encourage changes in lifestyle, diet, and other natural factors that might suppress the process of causing cancer. The plea is for each one of us to learn how our own lifestyle affects our risk of cancer and make changes accordingly.

The immune system
The immune system has one mission: to identify and destroy foreign invaders before significant harm is done to our bodies. Our singular duty to the immune system is to develop a lifestyle that will support its constant defense work on our behalf. How we live day by day determines whether our immune system works at peak levels or is inhibited by our neglect and even abuse. Three of the important ways to help our immune system are diet, exercise and stress control.

Elements of a cancer-protective lifestyle
 Proper diet: fruits, vegetables, cereal grains, nuts
 Maintain proper weight
 Regular meals with no snacks
 Regular aerobic exercise
 Sunlight in moderation
 Stress control

Cancer-protective fruits and vegetables
Blueberries; strawberries; plums; oranges; grapes; citrus fruits; apricots; grapefruit; orange juice; kiwi fruit; raspberries; blackberries; bananas; kale; spinach; lettuce; collard greens; Brussels sprouts; cabbage; broccoli, cauliflower; carrots; beets; potatoes; watercress; mustard greens; garlic; onions; leeks; turnips/turnip greens; tomatoes; yams; sweet potatoes; mixed vegetables; pumpkin; cantaloupe; water melons; bell peppers.

High level carotene (vitamin A) foods
Food Serving size % RDA*
Orange yams, peeled after baking 1 cup 436%
Carrots, cooked 1 385
Carrots, raw 1 309
Pumpkin, cooked ½ 271
Sweet potato, peeled after baking 1 med 249
Sweet red bell peppers 1 each 135
Cantaloupe ½ 86
Mixed vegetables, frozen 1 cup 78
Spinach, cooked ½ 74
Kale, cooked ½ 48
Turnip greens, cooked ½ 40
Apricots, whole 3 each 28
Broccoli, cooked 1 cup 22
Water melons, slice 1×10 inch 1 serving 18
Collard greens, cooked ½ cup 18
Lettuce 5 leaves 10
* RDA = Recommended Daily Allowance

Foods rich in vitamin C
Food Serving size Mg
Sweet red bell peppers, raw 1 med 141
Orange juice, fresh 1 cup 124
Brussels sprouts, boiled 1 cup 98
Pink/red grapefruit 1 each 94
Strawberries 1 cup 82
Kiwi fruit 1 each 75
Oranges 1 med 70
Sweet green bell peppers 1 med 61
Broccoli, pieces, raw ½ cup 41
Raspberries 1 cup 31
Blackberries 1 cup 30
Sweet potato, baked 1 med 28
Kale, boiled ½ cup 27
Tomato, raw 1 each 24
Cabbage, raw 1 cup 29
Baked potato 1 med 16
Banana 1 med 10

High sources of vitamin E
Food Serving size % RDA*
(For males)
Wheat germ oil 1 tbs 83.0
Sunflower oil 1 tbs 42.4
Sunflower seeds, oil roasted 1 tbs 42.4
Almond butter 1 tbs 31.6
Canola oil 1 tbs 30.3
Almonds 10 each 27.2
Soybean oil 1 tbs 23.5
Margarine, tub 1 tbs 18.2
Sunflower oil 1 tbs 16.2
Olive oil 1 tbs 15.6
Blueberries 1 cup 14.5
Mustard beans ½ cup 14.1
Soy beans, green, boiled ½ cup 12.6
Spinach, cooked ½ cup 11.7
Wheat germ 1 tbs 11.2

The anti oxidant top ten fruits and vegetables
1. strawberry; garlic
2. plum; kale
3. orange; spinach
4. red grapes; Brussels sprouts
5. kiwi fruit; alfalfa sprouts
6. grapefruit, pink; broccoli
7. white grapes; beets
8. bananas; red bell peppers
9. apple; onion
10. tomato; corn

A personal cancer-protective lifestyle in a nutshell
Avoid carcinogens; kick the tobacco habit; a smoke-free, tobacco-free society to eliminate 2nd hand smoke.

Alcohol
Regarding alcohol, the data is all in. We need to stop using alcohol.

Choice of foods
Choose foods that will work for our benefit and eliminate the foods that are working against us. Societies that regularly consume meat, high fat dairy products, and saturated fats associated with them, have the highest rates of cancer. Changing our diet by cutting down on red meat and eating more chicken, turkey or fish which contain many toxins, viruses and other potentially dangerous substances is no gain as it still has many of the original hazards. Only by changing from the typical American animal-based diet will we achieve the results we want.

The most healthful diet in the world
Eating freely of fruits, grains, vegetables, and nuts in moderation, prepared in a variety of ways, offers us the most healthful diet in the world. It eliminates a host of cancer-causing substances, is ideal for maintaining proper weight, it boosts the immune system by making use of vitamins A, C, and E and other very important protective phytochemicals and fiber. Coupling this diet with regular aerobic exercise will boost the immune system even further. Rounding out the program with adequate stress control, moderate sunlight, weight control, and decreasing snacks and meal frequency will maximize the preventive potential.

The magic cancer pill
The magic cancer pill has been found as we have up to 90% effective ‘cure’ for cancer in the form of a comprehensive cancer-preventive lifestyle. The #2 killer in America could soon be relegated to the bottom of the 10 leading causes of death.

Plant Foods containing Omega-3 (Linolenic Acid)
Flax seed/linseed oil; walnuts, English; walnuts, black; Canola oil; wheat germ oil; soybean oil (Crisco/Wierson); green soybeans; spinach, canned; almonds; Californian avocado; turnips; sunflower oil; sweet potatoes; banana; medium apple with peel; roasted potatoes; cucumber slices with peel; whole wheat bread.

Switching grain consumption from livestock to people
Livestock consumes 630m tons of grain worldwide. Reducing meat-eating by 10% would reduce grain consumption by 63m tons. If this reduction in consumption would be made available for direct human consumption, it would feed the growth in world population for 2+ years.

Conclusion
It seems that we are standing on the verge of a major conceptual breakthrough. Just as the majority of Americans recognize that smoking habits have both personal and societal effects, so many are beginning to realize that eating habits have effects far beyond their impact on personal health. Indeed, it is amazing to realize the large extent that our dietary choices influence not only our health, not only the health of our children, but also the health and well being of the entire world. It is no exaggeration to say that in some respects our seemingly small daily individual choices ultimately affect the destiny of life on our planet. And perhaps no choice impacts global destiny as much as one decision that is among our most basic and personal choices – what we put on our plate.

Beyond the Leading Causes of Death
The founders of the preventive medicine center called the Weimar Institute were convinced that the path to health rested on 8 relatively simple health concepts popularized by Ellen White in the 1905 health classic The Ministry of Healing, embodied in the acronym NEWSTART standing for Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunshine, Temperance, Air, Rest, and Trust in God.

Newstart Element #1: Nutrition
In this era of medical consciousness, Dr Synove Knutsen has published some fascinating data on the benefits of the vegetarian diet (Knutsen, S. F. Lifestyle and the Use of Health Services American Journal of Clinical Nutrition May 1994) finding 15% less chronic diseases among vegetarians when compared to non-vegetarians. Athletes were fed different diets for 3 days and their endurance tested to exhaustion.
 The high protein and high fat diet (high in meat) gave 57 minutes
 A mixed diet (lower meat, fat and protein) gave 1 hour 54 minutes
 A vegetarian diet (high carbo-hydrate) gave 2 hours 47 minutes
Vegetarian elephants can run at 25mph for 10-12 hours while meat-eating big cats such as cheetahs and tigers have good initial speed but fatigue within a short time. Harvard researchers showed that a total vegetarian diet was fully adequate for protein. As pointed out in Chapter 7, ‘The Great Meat and Protein Myth,’ organically grown spinach is very rich in vitamin B12.”

Food supplements
Some patients are not content with my message of eating more fruits, whole grains, and vegetables and feel that an easier solution is to take supplements. Unfortunately taking extra doses of vitamins can cause problems. Surprisingly, you can cause a vitamin or mineral deficiency by taking large doses of supplements, because of the interactions between vitamins and minerals; taking excessive amounts of one results in an unbalancing of the uptake and utilization of other vitamins and minerals. A study by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion stated ‘We found no evidence of increased longevity among vitamin and mineral supplement users in the United States.’

Newstart Element #2: Exercise
Great benefit is obtained from exercising as little as 750 calories expended per week, with the greatest benefit for those expending more than 3,500 calories. Moderate exercise to expend 150 calories per day are: volleyball 45 minutes; brisk walking 30; raking leaves or active gardening 30; swimming 20; basket ball 15-20; running (1.5 miles) 15. Exercise is important to boost levels of the good cholesterol, HDL. The more you exercise the higher your HDL level.

Newstart Element #3: Water
One measurement that, in part, determines blood-thickness is called hematocrit. If a person is not drinking enough water, hematocrit rises, increasing risk of heart attacks and strokes. Lack of water causes dehydration of the red blood cells, making them less flexible, and they have a greater tendency to clot.

Newstart Element #4: Sunshine
Excessive ultraviolet light from sunshine can increase the risk of skin cancer and cataracts, but judicious amounts can be extremely beneficial.

Newstart Element #5: Temperance
Temperance in the context of this book means ‘total abstinence from substances that are harmful and moderate use of substances that are helpful.’ The World Health Organization advocates ‘no alcohol’ as the standard. It is best to stay clear of caffeine use.

Newstart Element #6: Air
High quality fresh air is electrified. The life-giving oxygen molecule is positively charged or ‘negatively ionized,’ giving rise to a number of benefits.

Newstart Element #7: Rest
Rest comes in daily rest or sleep 7-8 hours; weekly rest – 1 day of rest; recreation; meditation and prayer – at least on a daily basis. I have found meditation and prayer to be a vital part of a balanced lifestyle program. Faith in God favors good health.

Newstart Element #8: Trust in Divine Help
Throughout this book I have demonstrated how research is showing that spirituality and trust in divine power have a role in dealing with many common diseases. We have looked at the role of faith in heart disease, the relationship of spirituality to the AIDS epidemic, and the link between religion and cancer. Later in the chapter the stress-religion-arthritis connection will be covered. One study found that religiosity significantly enhanced physical health among centenarians.

Ellen White
Ellen White wrote volumes on topics related to health and lifestyle; Ministry of Healing; Counsels on Diet and Foods; Medical Ministry; Counsels on Health; Steps to Christ (a life changing masterpiece). Bible prophets are regarded as spokesmen for God and their writings contain much information that could not otherwise be known by man. Conflict of the Ages series traces the history of the conflict between good and evil from its origins. Desire of Ages provides insights as to the motivations of Jesus. Christ’s Object Lessons draws lessons from the parables of Christ. Patriarchs and Prophets draws spiritual lessons from the exodus experience. Education states that true education embodies the development of all four aspects of our being – mental, physical, social, and spiritual. Learning is a life long experience. Each event in our lives holds a lesson that, rightly interpreted, will guide us into the more abundant life that God intended for us. The Great Controversy draws lessons from the history of man and his relationship to God. Books available from Pacific Press and Review and Herald. Proof Positive $99. Call 580-223-5980 or 888-778-4445

Wednesday, November 24, 2010 @ 05:11 AM
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PICKING OLIVES AT LAKKIA

On 19 and 20 November we had students from Anatolia College help us pick olives. At the end of the day everyone made their own bottles of oil flavored with rosemary and garlic. On the Saturday students were from ACT – the American College of Thessaloniki – many of whom were on the college semester/year abroad program. Others had chosen to study at ACT because the cost of getting an excellent American education was much lower than studying in the United States.
On the Sunday students were from the IB program (International Baccalaureate) as part of CAS – Creativity, Action, Service. The bottles of olive oil they created were for sale at the Anatolia bazaar, with the proceeds going to charity.
Students were provided with a copy of this talk by David.

Introduction
Thank you for coming to our organic farm to help us pick olives. During your visit you will learn about the Mediterranean diet and the important role that olives and olive oil plays. You will see first hand why we believe so strongly in the slow food philosophy. You will join us for a fresh, nutritious salad lunch harvested from our garden during which we can discuss how diet and lifestyle affect your health, productivity, effectiveness and happiness. The information below is taken from books reviewed on our website www.slowlivinggreece.com under the blog section should you wish to conduct your own research. As you read these notes, please bear in mind the following two statements.

Of the 2.2 million deaths in America each year, 1.8 million are diet related
Sally Beare’s 50 Secrets of the World’s Longest Living People states that: “Scientists agree that we could be living to around 120 years if we achieved our maximum potential life spans, having more energy whatever age we are. It is never too late too start. Even those who are tired, ill, and getting on in years can become biologically younger, reverse the damage, keep disease away, and add years, if not decades, to their lives.” “Ancient wisdom, thousands of authoritative studies, and recent groundbreaking research all indicate that the answer lies, above all, in what we eat. The U.S. surgeon general recently said that of the 2.2 million deaths in America each year, 1.8 million are diet related.”

People today should be the most vigorous and competent the world has known
In B17 Metabolic Therapy in the Prevention and Control of Cancer Philip Day quotes Sir Robert McCarrison, Chairman of the Post-Graduate Medical Education Committee at Oxford University: “I know of nothing so potent in producing ill-health as improperly constituted food. It may therefore be taken as a law of life, infringement of which shall surely bring its own penalties, that the single greatest factor in the acquisition of health is perfectly constituted food. Given the will, we have the power to build in every nation a people more fit, more vigorous and competent; a people with longer and more productive lives, and with more physical and mental stamina than the world has ever known.”

The information below is taken from Olive Oil: Way of Long Life by Mediterraneo Editions
Olive oil is one of the ten most beneficial foods
A study carried out in Crete, the US, Japan, Italy, Dalmatia, Corfu and Holland showed that in Mediterranean areas there is a lower death rate from coronary disease – 38 per 100,000 in Crete; 462 per 100,000 in Italy and 773 per 100,000 in the US – and cases of cancer are much fewer – 17 per 100,000 in Crete; 622 per 100,000 in Italy and 384 per100,000 in the US. The difference was put down to dietary habits based mainly on the greater consumption of olive oil, vegetables, fruit, pulses and cereals. The Mediterranean diet has become a model for good nutrition.

The constituents of olive oil
The Mediterranean diet differs from the diet of the other countries in the study in that it includes a greater consumption of olive oil. Consequently the secret must lie in the constituents of olive oil and mainly in the oleic acid which is a monosaturated fatty acid reaching a proportion of 83%. Apart from the fatty substances, which also include linoleic and linolenic acid, olive oil contains vitamin E (3-30mg), minerals, etc. which as anti-oxidants help to protect cells from harm and consequently protect them from various diseases including cancer.

Lower rates of cancer
Women who consume olive oil reduce to 25% the chances of contracting breast or ovarian cancer. This explains the lower rate of cases in the Mediterranean in comparison to countries producing less oil. The same applies to cancer of the stomach, prostate and large intestine, which are all linked to dietary habits.

Lower rates of heart disease
Apart from cancer, olive oil helps to prevent heart disease. This explains yet again why the Mediterranean peoples who combine the consumption of oil with other dietary habits including dairy products, fruit, vegetables and pulses, have managed to protect themselves from heart disease to a greater extent than other nations.

Antioxidants help to prevent cancer
Olive oil is of particular benefit to the gastrointestinal tract as it is easily absorbed while at the same time it reduces gastric juices and the creation of satiety. The anti-oxidant substances and in particular vitamins C and E prevent stomach cancer.

Ulcers
Olive oil has been proved to be of benefit to people suffering from ulcers not only as it eases the pain but also as it often helps the ulcer to heal. Due to the vitamin A, olive oil helps to protect the skin, not only from solar radiation but also from other skin conditions.

Essential during childhood
Olive oil also makes a positive contribution to the normal development and protection of the central nervous system, the brain and the skeleton, and consequently its consumption is considered essential mainly during childhood and the later years, so as to ensure not only correct physical development, but also a healthy old age.

The Cretan diet
The tried and tested Cretan diet constitutes the basis of longevity. To quote Professor Serge Renaud “After 15 years of study, it has been shown that Crete has the lowest mortality rate…” and dietician Ancel Keys was impressed by the liberal, even excessive, consumption of olive oil in Crete. Consumption of olive oil in Greece amounts to 20 kilos per person per year.

Crete has the lowest mortality rate
Crete has the lowest mortality rate not only of the 7 countries in the study but world-wide; the secret of the Cretan’s longevity lies in their diet which has remained stable and unchanged since ancient times. It is based on the consumption of olive oil, pulses, fruit, vegetables, cheese, fish, and wine and to a less extent on meat.

Mortality rate from the “Seven Country Study”
(per 100,000 inhabitants) Serge Renaud: The Mediterranean Diet)
Country Coronary Cancer Mortality
Disease
Finland 972 613 2169
US 773 384 1575
Netherlands 636 781 11825
Italy 462 622 1874
Yugoslavia 242 394 1712
Corfu 202 338 1317
Japan 136 623 1766
Crete 38 17 855

The information below is taken from Olive Oil: The Secret of Good Health by Nikos and Maria Psilakis
Olive Oil and Its History
Greeks have based their diet on olive products for thousands of years, with olive oil used as the fat content in food. The development of a civilization can be seen through the people’s diet. Wheat, wine and olive oil are the main products of Greece. Excavations in Crete have uncovered olives aged 3500 years, but the olives looked fresh since they had retained their skins. People of that time not only cultivated olive trees but also scented their oil with herbs. In Crete a grave oath obliges every young man to plant at least one olive tree and to look after it until it has fully grown.

Olive oil ensured survival
Roman ships transported large quantities of olive oil to areas where the olive tree was not cultivated. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453 A.D., the olive became the symbol of survival for the inhabitants of many agricultural areas. Living under extremely difficult conditions, these people found a relatively easy product which could be put to many uses and so ensured their survival.

During the Turkish occupation
During the Turkish occupation the olive trade was the cause of dynamic economic development in many areas. In the 18th century olive oil was exported to Marseilles, an important center for soap production.

Olive Oil as Food
Olive oil in Greece takes the place butter has in the English diet. Olive oil was essential in cooking cereal crops, vegetables and pulses, as it still is in traditional Greek cuisine. The amounts of uncooked oil that were consumed were not small. Many sweets in ancient times and even today’s traditional ones rely on olive oil.

Olive oil in the Cretan diet
Olives and olive oil play an important role in the Cretan diet. A foreign visitor has the impression that Cretan food literally floats in olive oil. The Cretan diet is believed to be the best example of a Mediterranean diet; Cretans have the lowest rate of heart diseases and cancer. The Cretans’ good health is thought to be due to their diet. The largest role in the Cretan diet is played by olive oil.

Cretan olive oil consumption
Shortly after the revolution of 1821, Robert Pashley calculated that each Cretan family consumed 350 litres of olive oil a year. Towards the end of the 1950s Anzel Keys organized a study of 7 countries and found that the Cretans, whose food floated in olive oil, had the best health in the world. Cancerous diseases were rare and cardiovascular diseases were almost unknown. A few years earlier a survey conducted by the Rockefeller Foundation observed, ‘Olives and olive oil make up a large part in the Cretan diet. A foreign visitor has the impression that Cretan food floats in oil. This product is unsparingly used in cooking. It is essential for salads, soups and vegetables’ and ‘The consumption of fat but, most importantly of all, olive oil is great. This level of olive oil consumption is characteristic of the Cretan diet, in fact, much greater than anywhere else in Greece.’ Studies by Eurostat showed consumption of olive oil at 31 liters per person annually on Crete, 25 in other Mediterranean countries and 185 grams per person per year in Germany.

The Olive and its Oil as a Medicine
Aelianus (3rd century AD) claimed ‘When an elephant is injured by many arrow heads, it eats olive tree flowers or oil and then whatever has hurt it can be removed. It is at once again strong.’ Olive oil was believed to be a cure for all wounds and this knowledge continued in popular medicine for many centuries. Doctors in ancient times and in the Byzantine world mention an array of prescriptions which use olive oil as a basic ingredient. In general we could say that there were hardly any illnesses that could not be cured with olive oil.

Storage of Olive Oil
Olive oil is sensitive to light oxidation and should be stored in glass bottles, dark in colour. If the bottle is transparent it should be kept in a dark place, the ideal temperature being 10-15° Celcius. Olive oil should not come into contact with metal, especially copper and iron as these metals speed up the process of acidic deterioration. Storage is allowed only in non-oxidising metal containers.

Cultivating the olive tree
Cultivating methods do not use a lot of fertilizers. The main chemical treatment is spraying olive trees to combat the olive tree’s worst enemy, dacus oleae. Many naturally cultivating olive producers have appeared in Greece and have been recognized internationally, providing an oil rich in organic characteristics.

Olive oil is easily digested
Olive oil is easily digested; only breast milk can be absorbed more easily by the human body. The make up of fat in breast milk is similar to that in olive oil. Olive oil should be used instead of any other fat on the market. It is the only one produced in a natural way and keeps its characteristics in tact.

Olive oil, the secret of good health
Research shows the great value of olive oil as a perfect food for man. Consumption of olive oil instead of other fats or oils, reduces the concentration of LDL cholesterol in the blood without decreasing the levels of HDL, the so-called ‘bad’ and ‘good’ cholesterol respectively. Olive oil reduces the level of triglycerides in the blood. A collection of bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood can block the arteries which transport oxygen to the brain and heart. In general, olive oil protects against heart diseases. Olive oil reduces blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic, thus decreasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Cancer
Recent studies have shown that olive oil consumption can slow down breast cancer and other types of cancer. A balanced diet with olive oil and vegetables can reduce the appearance of cancer by 75%. Olive oil in conjunction with a healthy diet (vegetables, little meat etc) protects against cancer of the stomach, makes the liver work better, and helps the liver to detoxify poisonous substances.

Osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
Olive oil assists in the maintenance of bone density and protects against osteoporosis; Olive oil consumption reduces the chances of the appearance of rheumatoid arthritis by 75%, especially with a balanced diet and the consumption of more fish. Olive oil should be included in the treatment of diabetes.

Olive Oil in Frying
Recent studies have shown that olive oil is the most suitable oil for frying because it remains stable due to its antioxidization agents, even at high temperatures. Animal fats do not have anti-oxidative agents, so as a result, they are oxidized very quickly, with all the harmful effects to health of those who consume them. Seed oils spoil at a temperature of 170-180 Celsius, while olive oil – extra virgin olive oil – can stand temperatures over 200 Celsius, and possibly 230-250 Celsius. Recent studies have refuted one more myth – that fried food absorbs too much oil, becomes fattening and bad for health. Foods fried in olive oil absorb less fat in comparison to those fried in seed oils. Olive oil can be used several times for frying, so long as we fry similar things, otherwise the quality of the taste will be affected.

The information below is taken from Mediterranean Diet in Practice by Manos Kazamias.
A model diet
Now that science has proven that the return to a traditional way of nourishment in Mediterranean countries has had a direct impact on the improved level of people’s health, and assures the high quality of life everyone desires, an international re-education has begun into what is considered a model diet. Documented studies have proven why and how this diet must become the backbone for human nutritional habits all over the world.

Bread, olive oil and wine used by man for over 3,000 years
Centuries before Christ, in the areas surrounding the Mediterranean, wheat, olives and vineyards were cultivated, providing bread, olive oil and wine, the three most significant factors of Mediterranean Diet even today. Olive oil is the only oil which has been used by man for over 3,000 years and, according to all research, the protection of the good health of Mediterranean peoples is due to its consumption.

The basis for a Mediterranean Diet
The quality of calories we take in – and not only their quantity – is very important for our development and our high standard of living. Some foods have more nutrients than others, but it is their combination and proportion that makes a difference. All food groups must exist in such a proportion so as not to create nutrient deficiencies. The Mediterranean Nutritional Pyramid classifies the food groups which make up our daily diet. More and more governments give their residents directions based on this pyramid, as its relation to the population’s health has been proven.

Sugars and fats
The fewer foods we consume from this group, the healthier our diet becomes. It’s a good idea to consume them rarely.

Dairy products
Skimmed milk up to 1.5% fat, yoghurt with 1-2% fat as well as cheeses with a 7-8% fat content are very good choices among dairy products for inclusion in our daily diet, necessary in small quantities for the intake of calcium and vitamins, and consequently for the good of bone and teeth. Enjoy them in small quantities emphasizing half-skimmed milk and yoghurt as well as traditional cheeses low in fat, such as fresh unsalted myzithra cheese or katiki.

Meat-fish
It’s very good for you to eat fish twice a week and mostly rich oily fish like sardines. For the rest of the foods in this category, it’s good to select the leanest ones like skinless poultry or lean pork fillet or suckling veal in small quantities and of course legumes which are a very important part of Mediterranean Diet. Small daily quantities from this group with emphasis on fish and seafood and less on poultry, eggs and red meat will provide us with the necessary amino acids, while legumes as a source of plant protein are an excellent choice for at least twice a week.

Fruit and vegetables
The goal is to eat at least five equivalent fruit and vegetables a day. The best choices are fresh season fruit and vegetables, while smaller amounts of freshly squeezed juices and dry fruit may be calculated into daily equivalents. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Mainly green leafy vegetables and fruit which are consumed unpeeled are especially beneficial to our good health.

Cereals
Cereals are the basis for the Mediterranean Dietary pyramid. It’s good for them to make up to 60% of our daily calories, especially in their unrefined form which is rich in fibre, vitamins and trace elements. It is good for you to eat carbohydrates in large amounts. Included here are legumes, wholemeal bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, cereals, wheat.

The information below is taken from Olive and Olive Oil: Mediterranean Diet 100 Greek and Cypriot Recipes by Katerina Tsouchtidi:
A perfect balance
Olive oil is wonderfully nutritious, forming the basis for the renowned Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean Diet is a combination of foods that are perfectly balanced, guaranteeing long life, health and a positive psychological outlook.

The elixir of life and longevity
Evidence from Greece today demonstrates the true blessing of olive oil for the prevention of illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, breast and prostate cancer. Olive oil makes a great contribution to a long life. The olive oil of Greece is a natural juice and is one of the twelve most beneficial foodstuffs.

Fatty acids
All types of oil, plant and animal, contain different kinds of fatty acids. These are divided into saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Olive oil contains only monounsaturated fatty acids as well as oleic acid, a major component of olive oil with a content of up to 80%. It gives health and long life and is superior to any other type of oil. It is an irreplaceable food.

The 1947 study
In 1947 a group of scientists visited Crete. To their surprise, despite the fact that the region was devastated after the war, the health of the residents was significantly better than that of Britons or Americans. The Cretans had an average of fewer deaths from cardiovascular diseases and cancer and they lived longer.

The Seven Countries Study
Extensive scientific research was first carried out in the 1950s in seven countries (Finland, the United States, Holland, Italy, Yugoslavia, Japan and Greece) to determine which countries had less deaths from cancer and heart disease, and which factors could help prevent such diseases. One thousand people aged between 40 and 59 from each country participated in the study. Over a period of 15 years, the researchers’ attention was draw to one region of the Mediterranean, to Crete.

Lower rates of deaths from cancer and heart disease on Crete,
Not simply were there lower rates of deaths from cancer and heart disease on Crete, but life expectancy was also much higher. By country the death rate from heart disease was: Finland = 97.2%; Holland = 63.6%; Italy = 46.2%; Yugoslavia 34%; Greece = 20.2%; Crete = 3.8%. In the United States the death rate from heart disease had already reached 77.3%.

No deaths in Crete from cancer
Moreover, there were no deaths in Crete from cancer or other serious illnesses. The researches initially tried to explain the phenomenon in terms of the climate or the way of life of the residents of Crete. They soon came to the conclusion, however, that the long life of the Cretans was due to the significant quantity of olive oil that they consumed in comparison with other peoples, as well as the fruit and vegetables.

Cretans age well because they eat well
The conclusions were that the Cretans age well because they eat well. Recent reliable studies have also shown that among the peoples of the Mediterranean the Greeks have the most balanced diet. With basic ingredients of olive oil, fruit, vegetables, cereals, wine, fish, honey, and the wonderful herbs – produced with a high nutritious value – the Greek diet is a model for a healthy way of life, absolutely suited to the modern lifestyle.

Good and bad cholesterol
It has been proved that olive oil reduces the level of low-density lipoproteins, i.e. ‘bad’ cholesterol, and increases the level of high-density fatty proteins, i.e. ‘good’ cholesterol. This reduces the deposition of fats on the walls of the arteries, reducing clotting of blood vessels and the heart. More than any other natural produce, olive oil reduces cholesterol and so provides the heart with a wonderful protective shield.

Olive oil and cancer
The therapeutic qualities against cancer (especially breast cancer) that the regular consumption of olive oil provides are well known. Harvard Professor D. Trichopoulos calculates that the daily use of olive oil reduces the risk of breast cancer by around 25%. It is not by chance that among the women of Crete and Mani, where olive oil is consumed in great quantities, breast cancer and ovarian cancer are rare.

Olive oil and aging
The antioxidant substances contained in olive oil help us to age well. Chlorophyll contributes to cell growth and reinforces blood metabolism and strength. It plays a leading role in the development of the central nervous system.

The information below is taken from Olive Oil: Eat Better, Live Longer by Myrsini Lambraki:
Crete, the most important landmark in the history of the olive tree
There is little doubt that the small and lithe Minoans were the ones to take over the culture of the olive tree from other eastern Mediterranean peoples. It is here, where the climate is mild and the land fertile, where one of the most important civilizations in the world was developing, that the olive tree found its ideal home. Here it blossomed, giving its oil in plenty, revered and honoured as no other tree.

Climate, soil and men: the perfect balance
Fertile plains and high mountains are the two most striking elements in the Cretan landscape. Along the mountain chains, thousands of olive trees grow on rather poor soil; the olive tree is not demanding and willingly brings forth its fruit on all soils. Cretans love their olive trees as if they were members of the family. As in ancient times, the olive tree forms part of their lives, playing an important role not just in their diet, but in their civilization and in their art.

Robert Pashley
When Robert Pashley, an English traveler came to Crete in the first half of the 19th century, he was astonished at the consumption of olive oil: “I am told here, as in every other place where I have made enquiries, respecting the consumption of oil by each Cretan family, that it may be estimated at 4 okes (a little over 5 kilograms) a week, at least. A mother will hardly give bread to her children without pouring them out some oil into a dish, that they may moisten the staff of life, and render it more savory, before eating it. Oil is used on all kinds of vegetables, as well as in preparing every sort of meat and fish: in short it enters into every dish in Crete, and though all Greeks use a good deal of it, there is a much greater general consumption of it in this island than elsewhere.”

Scientific verification
A little more than a century later the American Rockfeller Institute carried out a research between 1948 and 1957 among the inhabitants of Crete, declaring in its report: “Cretan diet consists mainly of vegetarian products such as cereals, vegetables, fruit and olive oil… Olives and oil play an important part in the resistance of a Cretan constitution. A foreigner might find that Cretan food actually swims in oil: the consumption of olive oil is a distinctive attribute of the Cretan diet.”

Composition of olive oil
Vitamin E (3-30 mg)
Provitamin A (carotene)
Monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic) 56-83%
Polyunsaturated unfatty acid (linoleic) 3.5-20%
Polyunsaturated fatty acid (Linoleic) 0 –1.5%
Saturated fatty acids 8 – 23.5% 9 calories per gram

Olive oil: the healthiest of all fats
Fat used in food finds a healthy substitute in olive oil which is 77% monounsaturated fat and naturally cholesterol-free. Olive oil contains no salt, and one tablespoon provides 8%RDA for vitamin E. Olive oil is gluten-free. Gluten is found in wheat and rye, and to a lesser degree, in barley and oats, but not in 100% pure olive oil.

The strongest hearts in the world are the Cretan hearts
The Cretan diet has, over the last few years, been under scientific and medical study, and dietetics and statistics have proved that it ensures good health and longevity. The consumption of olive oil is the main reason for the low number of cardiac disorders among the inhabitants of the island.

Olive oil, cholesterol and coronary disease
Olive oil decreases unwanted cholesterol and limits arteriosclerosis, which is one of the main causes of death in industrial areas where butter and pork fat are used in cooking. Its monounsaturated oleic acid is as effective as its polyunsaturated fatty acids in decreasing the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and it has a positive effect on the HDL, the protective factor against coronary disease.

Olive oil and calories
Many people wonder whether olive oil has more calories than other cooking oils. The answer is: NO. Olive oil has 120 calories per tablespoon. Furthermore, its rich fragrance allows one to use less quantity of olive oil than one would of other less rich oils, thereby reducing the intake of calories even more.