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Are We Killing Ourselves With Science? My Grandfather’s Wisdom

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In our effort to stay healthy, it seems like a new discovery is made daily in regards to our eating and nutrition. With that, a new product appears on the market that is “healthier” than the old alternative. In essence, we are mucking around with our food, and it’s not working. Rising obesity rates, a diabetes pandemic, cancer outbreaks, all hell is breaking loose. Are we killing ourselves with science?

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For those who have been reading my blog a while, you know that I advocate for REAL food. It has always been this way. My Grandfather was a bit of a nut when it came to real food. He died back in 1991, but when I lived with him back in 1986, he advocated for organic food free of pesticides. I remember he also fought for natural, unpasteurized milk. (We were one of the last people to actually get it delivered to our door.)

People thought he was absolutely off his rocker. Today, of course, we know that he was just ahead of his time. The one thing that my Grandfather (a herbalist,) taught me was that it was what the Lord provided which was the fabled fountain of youth. That’s right – the way to stay younger, healthier, was to eat from God’s bounty – that is – REAL foods. Of course he was a religious man – but that didn’t change the overall message.

I remember when I had a a racking cough for a month. His treatment was some hot water, a wedge of lemon, and honey from his beehives. I remember him stating, “the lemon cuts, the honey soothes.” If I had a cut, he taught me to put comfrey on the wounds to speed up the healing. When my mother developed cervical cancer, he pushed for her to cut out her industrial fats, give up drinking pasteurized milk, have whole acidophilus milk, eat more organic carrots, and drink the carrot juice.

The point is, he may have been wrong in several aspects of treatment – but I can tell you that he worried daily about how science was transforming the landscape of food – even back then. Yes, he was a deeply religious man, and that probably clouded his rational thinking, but in terms of REAL food, he was WAY ahead of his time.

Today I am going to pass off to you what the lessons he taught me when I was just 10 years old. Of course, I am not as religious as he was by a mile, but the message still holds:

My Grandfather’s reasons why “Science” can’t fix our food:

  1. Humans have been eating food God has provided for more than 5000 years, from the time of Adam and Eve.
  2. It is only recently that heart disease and strokes have become the #1 killers in America.
  3. Cancer rates are climbing, as well as Diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. This appears to have started with the introduction of foods that are heavily processed, and have no value in them.
  4. Science supports that bottom line of a corporation, not the interest of God’s plan for the human race.
  5. Genetically modified foods are patented, which are compromising the organic seed trade.
  6. We have radically changed plants through GMO without understanding the consequences of our actions, with no long term studies.
  7. Our foods are essentially so processed, that they have no nutritional benefit anymore.
  8. We need to “supplement” our daily foods with vitamins and minerals. God has put all the bounty into his plants and animal to nourish us. Why do we need to supplement something already in His plan?
  9. Does science think God make a mistake?

My Grandfather’s Solution To The Problems With Disease Today:

  1. We need to eat as God intended us to. Whole, minimally processed foods, as He provides for us.
  2. We need to stop consuming what science supposes to be “better” for us. We are talking about the collective wisdom of THOUSANDS of years verses the 100 years or so that science has been involved with processing our foods.
  3. Once we start eating as God intended for us, then the rates of Cancer, Diabetes, and Alzheimer’s will stabilize.
  4. We need to provide for the farmers and producers of our country, not the corporations. Buying Local, Organic, and Sustainable is the way. Grow your own if you can, or join a community garden..
  5. Don’t eat anything that God hasn’t had a hand in making. If it needs to be created in a test tube, then it’s not meant to be eaten, and it will cause the body harm. Remember your body is a Temple.
  6. We need to save our own seeds, and plant them for the next year. The garden is your best bet to health, growing your own is part of God’s plan. When you grow your own, with God’s help, you can provide the bounty for your family.
  7. Avoid any processed food, unless minimally so. That means if it has more than one layer to open it, (such as a Twinkie that comes in a box, AND a plastic bag,) then it is to be avoided, as it is not as God intended it..
  8. We can get our daily vitamins and minerals though our diet if we eat organic, and local. If there are to be any supplements, then they should be from a herbalist, and not a doctor, who will just push drugs onto you, (not kidding about this, he actually said this – and this attitude might be slightly right, but it is what killed him in the end.)
  9. Trust in what God’s plan is. Science does not have all the answers. In fact, when science thinks it has actually successfully answered a riddle in nutrition, it usually just creates another 10 from the “solution” that it has found. Thousands of years of tradition can’t be wrong.

 Conclusion

I think that science has corrupted what God (or nature if you will,) had right in the first place; it is in our arrogance that we think we can do better than thousands of generations of wisdom. We are now just coming to the cusp of what that means for our civilization. It’s not too late to turn back to more natural products… for now. If we continue on this path, then we may find that it’s science that is the only thing keeping us alive. That’s a scary thought.

Your Turn!

What do you think, are we killing ourselves with science? Let me know in the comments!

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  • http://www.realfoodfreaks.com Jen

    Well, hello! I just found you from Food Renegade’s FBF. Your grandfather sounds like a very wise man. Somehow we got it all backwards didn’t we? Our modern culture follows the religion of fake ‘science’ now. Great post!

  • Mike

    Nope. I disagree. Science is how we learn about the world. We take in evidence, examine it, and come to conclusions. This is far from what’s going on with obesity.

    Here is an example of how science is warped, blamed and improperly used.

    A study is done on obesity, using poor methodology. The media reads the abstract and makes claims based on that without every having read the study. Their headline might say “Eating red meat causes heart attacks!” The problem here is that the headline is false. Eating red meat is not the cause of heart attacks. However, the media is not completely to blame. They scientists have equal culpability.

    The study follows many people over several years. The abstract says that those eating more red meat had a higher instance of heart attacks. However, the study doesn’t also look at their carb intake, the quality of the meat, the overall calories in relation to their needs, or even other lifestyle factors. Because the people with more heart attacks happened to eat more red meat, their conclusion is that red meat must be the cause of heart attacks.

    The scientists use a correlation and try to pass it off as a cause. That’s bad science. The bad science is reported by bad media, and everyone is freaking out for no good reason. Now, once the food companies get a hold of this, they make a bunch of meatless products, low fat products, and any other crappy things that substitute refined sugar for real flavor. The vicious cycle continues.

    Science is a tool, not a boogeyman.

  • Mike

    Apologies for grammar and spelling. It happens sometimes when Friday turns into Rantday. : )

  • http://welldonechef.com Jason Sandeman

    @Jen – thank you for your comment! I agree that sometimes its the simple things that we complicate that cause the problems.

  • http://welldonechef.com Jason Sandeman

    @Mike – see, this is where I am getting to with this piece.

    I agree that science is how we discover our world, but keep in mind that it’s proper science that is the key.

    To cite your example about the study that concluded that red meats were harmful to people, the problem with that study is from the complete lack of scientific method used in the study.

    First off, it was based off of data collected from people who reported what they ate.
    Second, they lumped the red meat IN with processed meat. The result? Red meat AND processed meat correlated with cancer and heart disease.

    So, this is a great example of what I am talking about. The data concluded (in the eyes of the researchers) that it was the cholesterol that was to blame. What comes from that is a tendency then to promote saturated fat-free products. (read: processed,) such as fat-free cheeses. By gosh, that saturated fat will lead you into heart disease. By the science, (and on paper,) we should be better off eating the fat-free stuff. Not the stuff your great-grandparents ate.

    The next question is: how’s that working out?

    That is what my grandfather was concerned about -

  • Mike

    My point is that science, when done correctly, will not result in the sort of problems we are seeing. I don’t think it’s right to blame science for human error. Just as it’s not right to blame god(s) for human errors.

    Science is how things “ought” to be discovered, studied and cataloged. The Golden Rule, and it’s many variants, is how humans “ought” to treat each other. One is secular, the other usually religious. As a species, we suck at following both of those.

    Now, back to the use of science for food. There are countless examples where good science has resulted in benefits for our food supply. New species of fruits and vegetables. Better farming methods. Better packaging and shipping to keep food fresh and palatable. Discovering how nutrients are used in the body and how they naturally help us fend off illness, or cause illness. I could go on and on.

  • http://welldonechef.com Jason Sandeman

    @Mike – yes, I agree when science is done properly, everyone can benefit. For example, a drought resistant crop can have benefits over the other.

    Where I think we get into trouble is when we replace REAL food with science-foods. (IE frankenfoods…)

    The idea that butter or olive oil is harmful to you – springs a new product spawned by the “science.” That is an oil that is made from rapeseed that is chemically extracted with hexane, bleached, deodorized, and loaded with preservatives.

    The science tells us (at least to some people) that the saturated fats have cholesterol in them, so they are harmful. Yet, the canola oil has no saturated fat in it. So, by the science, the canola should be better, right?

    I think this is where science has lead us astray.

  • Terri

    You could take this even further and look at how introducing formula milk to our babies effects our eating habits and health further in the future. I don’t hide the fact that I am a lactivist – I feel passionately about giving women support that is so desperately needed in order to start and continue a breastfeeding relationship with their babies. Formula feeding is the norm in western cultures, is it a coincidence then that in a lot of western cultures, there is a problem with obesity, heart disease and the like? If we are willing to give our babies processed “milk” made in a factory, that is mainly made from the milk of a different species altogether, it’s not much of a stretch that we would continue on that trend to fill ourselves with so much processed and “science” influenced food.

  • http://welldonechef.com Jason Sandeman

    @Terri – Exactly! I can see the case for formula if the baby won’t take the mother’s milk. Unfortunately, it seems the norm where the formula is pushed right from birth. It was like that when my son was born. Lucky for us, he liked Mommy’s milk more.
    I just saw a commercial last night for “milk” that is for toddlers that are transitioning from Mom to Cow’s milk. It begs the question – why now? What actual benefit would this have with a toddler? Why now, after thousands of years do we need to rely on a company for the nutritional needs of our kids. Kind of makes you think.

  • http://www.confessionsofawannabehousewife.blogspot.com Betsy

    Excellent post! I agree with both sides. It’s a fine line. I wouldn’t be alive today if not for modern science….but because of the faulty science Mike mentions in his comments, I am less healthy than I could be.

    There is room for both [good] science and real food in our world. But unfortunately because so many scientists have been corrupted to put the corporations that hire them as the first priority, it is harder for us common folk to weed through the BS and make the right choices. To go against the grain of conventional wisdom is sometimes a scary and lonely path to tread.

  • http://welldonechef.com Jason Sandeman

    @Betsey – wow. BANG on. I fall into the same club. I would not be alive today if it weren’t for science. The discovery of insulin is what keeps me alive today.
    I agree about the statement of funding for the science as well. From what I understand, a scientist lives by what or who the grant money comes from, so may be reluctant to buck the company line – so to speak.
    I think that’s why we see so many conclusions for studies (or the abstract) state that while the findings differ from conventional wisdom, they would not suggest bucking CW.
    A great example of this is a recent study my friend Tom Naughton stumbled on. The study found that a ketogenic diet helped lose weight, and prevented diabetes. The abstract was careful to point out that while a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates worked in the lab setting, they did not suggest implementing that dangerous combination, because everyone knows a diet high in fat is bad for you. (Despite what the data stated…)

    Instead, they stated they would like to create a drug that mimics the effect.

  • Kimberley

    I think that science actually supports a whole foods approach to eating and nutrition. It seems like you’re confusing science with corporations.

  • http://welldonechef.com Jason Sandeman

    @Kimberley – if what you were saying is true, why would we have “heart healthy” margarine, or “whole grain” Frosted Flakes.
    If the science was spot on, why would we need fat-free items, or drugs that would allow us to partake in a lifestyle that is actually shown to kill us?