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How To Get Sick

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How to Get Sick: A Modern Prescription for Illness

by Jordan Rubin, from "The Makers Diet" pages 83-94

UNDER IDEAL CONDITIONS, EVERYONE WOULD BE BORN PERFECT and without flaws. In reality, we all carry genetic and metabolic weaknesses and are constantly bombarded and attacked by potentially harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and industrial toxins. I'm convinced that we all have predetermined weaknesses in our bodies. Mine was the gut, but yours may be the lungs, the cardiovascular system, the blood, or the kidneys.

If we eat unhealthy foods and adopt unwise lifestyles, we may well see these predetermined weaknesses present themselves as devastating symptoms. Unfortunately, many of us exist in a state of subclinical illness (often unawares). That means we can't afford to go through life without taking certain precautions. In my case, I will take extra care with my diet and lifestyle for the rest of my life because I don't want a replay of my illness. I will resist medications of any kind-especially antibiotics. And unless I?m forced at gunpoint, I will never knowingly take another vaccination.

How to Get Sick

I focus extensively on -wise food and dietary decisions elsewhere in this book, but in this chapter I examine a short list of nonfood danger areas that may threaten our long-term health. In fact, if you want to "get sick:' follow these twenty-seven recommendations of the "world," and yon will achieve just that. But if you, like majority of us, want to remain healthy as long as possible, go against these twenty-seven suggestions if at all possible. The list may surprise you. Be sure to examine the evidence and reasoning for each item to see why it made the dubious list I've called "How to Get Sick"

1. Stay out of the sun.

Civilizations throughout history have understood that the sun is vital to human health. The human skin uses the energy from the sun to manufacture vitamin D for the body. This hormone/vitamin is important for many reasons, including its role in strengthening immune system function and proper mineral absorption. Critics claim that exposure to the UV rays of the sun cause higher rates of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. This might be true for a small population segment-those with compromised immune systems who don't consume adequate nutrients (especially healthy fats).

However, the people who actually get the most exposure to sunlight in different parts of the world exhibit the lowest incidence of skin cancer. The only logical explanation is that exposure to sunlight is not unhealthy. What is unhealthy is exposure to sunlight with the diets we consume. Rex Russell, M.D., notes that when sunlight activates the phytochemicals in healthy foods, consumption of these foods not only blocks the harmful effects of UV rays, but they also produce "antiviral, antibacterial, and anticancer components, as well as pest repellents.?1

2. Go to bed after midnight.

This is a great way to get sick. From biblical times to just before the Industrial Revolution, people used to go to sleep and rise with the setting and rising of the sun. This is the natural way to link your peak activity to the body's natural hormonal rhythms. Dr. Joseph Mercola believes the timing of your sleep affects its quality. He says, "The more hours that you can sleep before midnight, the better off you will be."2 He cites a study published in the Lancet (a respected medical journal in Great Britain) indicating chronic sleep loss produces serious symptoms mimicking the effects of aging and the early stages of diabetes (including age-related insulin resistance and memory loss).3 And finally, according to the late Elmer Josephson, "Authorities tell us that one hour of sleep before midnight is equivalent to four hours afterward."4

3. Never let them see you sweat.

Any attempt to artificially prevent perspiration is very unhealthy because perspiration is the Maker's method of safely cooling the body while excreting numerous toxins. Suppressing this natural sweat response in your underarms or other areas blocks the body's cleansing process and the natural flow of the lymphatic system. Interference in normal lymphatic function may increase the risk of breast cancer. The products most often used to stop perspiration contain forms of aluminum, which has been linked to Alzheimer's disease or other neurological problems; triclosan, an antimicrobial absorbed through the skin that poses some risk to the liver; and zirconium-based compounds that can cause underarm granulomas.5 For more information about these products and possible alternative choices, see David Steinman & Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., The Safe Shopper's Bible (New York: Hungry Minds, Inc., 1995).

4. Take megavitamins.

The use of massive amounts of vitamins and minerals is very unnatural-especially the popular and cheap synthetic and isolated "vitamins" created in chemical plants and widely sold in discount retail stores. The human body was not designed to consume such artificial products, especially in such excessive amounts. Nature prevents us from consuming 20,000 mg of vitamin C in one day because it is impossible to consume three hundred oranges (a natural source of vitamin C) in one day. Even if you could, it would produce one major colon cleanse! Vitamins and minerals that have not been incorporated into an organic matrix-a natural food form containing all necessary cofactors-may actually be very harmful to the body. It is better to supplement healthy food and beverage choices with living food supplements known as homeostatic nutrients rich in vitamins and minerals. This is a balanced form the body can absorb and utilize.

5. Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, and drink fluoridated water.

Fluoride is extremely poisonous-especially the salt-based form used in toothpaste and mouthwash. (Besides, its effectiveness is questionable at best.) A top EPA scientific advisor voiced the opinion that "since recent federal government tests have shown that fluoride appears to cause cancers at levels less than ten times the present maximum contamination level, this would ordinarily require that all additions of fluoride to water supplies be suspended and treatment be instituted to remove naturally occurring fluoride."6 That would be enough warning for me! (By the way, I have no evidence that the EPA ever suspended fluoridation operations.) Choose nonfluoridated alternatives for oral hygiene and be safe.

6. Use artificial sweeteners and avoid sugars.

As bad as sugar can be in its various forms, artificial sweeteners are worse! Some are downright deadly because of their carcinogenic properties and their use it such high-volume products as diet soft drinks and sugar-free foods. Chief among sinners is aspartame, which is marketed as NutraSweet or Equal. Renowned diabetes expert Dr. H. J. Roberts believes there is a clear scientific link between aspartame and increased incidence of brain tumors, seizure disorders, chronic headaches, and hyperactivity in children.7 As for saccharin, the cancer-causing labels that accompany its use still apply. The newcomer on the block is sucralose (used in Splenda), but the jury of scientific research still seems to be awaiting further testimony on this one. (If the Maker didn't produce it "as is," then it probably isn't much better than the other synthetic sugar substitutes.)

7. Shower every day, but don't bathe (take a bath).

Excessive showering-even in the purest water-can actually rob your hair and body of the natural oils.8 It can also alter your body's pH (especially if you're using certain alkaline shampoos and soaps). Then you have the added problem of heavily chlorinated public water supplies (see below). If the Maker has a preference, it might be the use of ritual bathing that combined bathing (washing in a shallow bath) with sprinkling (showering for brief periods). This combination is especially beneficial for the thorough but gentle cleansing recommended for the female genital area.

8. Swim in chlorinated pools (and drink and shower with chlorinated water).

Chlorine is an effective bacteria killer, although some strains of bacteria are developing a resistance to chlorine. Unfortunately, chlorine is an indiscriminate killer that kills both friendly and unfriendly bacteria. It also eats through lead pipes, corrodes most metals, and harms cells and DNA strands in virtually every living thing it touches. Chlorine also introduces to our water supplies some highly carcinogenic chemicals called trihalomethanes (THMs). Studies show a strong link between chlorinated water supplies with elevated THM levels and cancers of the bladder, kidney, liver, pancreas, gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, colon, and brain.9 It is risky enough to drink chlorinated tap water, but the mass exposure created by swimming in chlorinated pools or taking extended hot showers in heavily chlorinated water is much more dangerous. (The heat opens skin pores and increases the already high absorption rate of chlorine through the skin.) Dogs exposed to chlorine (this is the ingredient used to bleach white bread) get the running fits, a disorder similar to many psychiatric disorders in humans.

9. Don't breast feed your baby.

Mothers, consider breastfeeding your children if you don't want them to risk the trauma of numerous childhood diseases and if you don't want to pay the hospital bills. It will also reduce your risk of developing breast cancer by 25 percent, and it may lower the risk of postpartum depression! Mother's milk contains cells that attack harmful bacteria in the baby's system, and it is able to form antibodies that destroy invading viruses as well. Mother's milk is the Maker's perfect food for babies, delivered in the close bonds of maternal intimacy.10

10. Get tattoos.

Scripture warns against piercing the skin. (See Leviticus 19:28.) Body piercing and tattoos can easily introduce potentially deadly infections and toxic foreign substances into the body and bloodstream. Some health providers warn that even tiny puncture wounds might block important electrical nerve impulses just under the skin.

11. Get all of your immunization shots.

Despite massive media and government public relations campaigns to the contrary, certain childhood immunization injections may pose considerable risks to children. Most adults today received one to five immunizations in childhood, but schoolchildren today receive an average of twenty-two or more immunizations-most of them administered while the brain and nervous system are still developing! An epidemic of juvenile autism and other neurological and developmental disorders sweeping through America's school-age children generally coincides with the introduction of certain mandatory immunizations. A growing body of scientific and medical research appears to link this dangerous health trend to these childhood immunizations.

Vijendra K. Singh, Ph.D., an eminent neuroimmunologist from the Department of Biology and Biotechnology Center at Utah State University, hypothesized in research published internationally "that a measles virus-induced autoimmune response is a causal factor in autism, whereas HHV-6 via co-infection may contribute to pathophysiology of the disorder. Although as yet unproven, I think it is an excellent working hypothesis to explain autism, arid it may also help us understand why some children show autistic regression after the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) immunization.11 Dr. Singh's findings seem to Confirm the results of a similar study published in the Lancet in 1998 by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and co-workers of the Royal Free Hospital in London, indicating a possible link between MMR vaccination, Crohn's disease of the bowel, and autism.12 Most states allow philosophical and religious exemptions from mandatory immunization programs should you decide this is the way to go.

12. Travel in airplanes often.

Some people who spend a lot of time at high altitudes experience problems with infertility and oxygen production in the body. The body adapts well to high altitudes for short periods of time, but not for long periods. Animals dwelling at heights of thirteen to fourteen thousand feet have much more difficulty conceiving and instinctively return to lower pastures for breeding. Some researchers believe the atmospheric pressures and radiation to which airplane travelers are exposed are the equivalent of hundreds of CAT scans and pose the greatest oxidative stress on the human body.13 (Who wants to be trapped in a small room with hundreds of sneezing, coughing people?)

13. Expose yourself often to electromagnetic energy.

Everywhere you go, you run into electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from television sets, microwave ovens, cell phones, and local media transmission towers. Studies conducted over the last two decades imply possible association of EMFs with miscarriages, birth defects, leukemia, brain cancers, breast cancers, and lymphomas.14

Hospital body scans (x-rays and their computerized cousin, computerized axial tomography [CAT scans]) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) expose us to especially high levels of EMFs. One MRI delivers radiation equal to one hundred conventional x-rays. These diagnostic tools are potentially deadly if used indiscriminately. Cellular phones may pose dangers to brain tissues due to the close proximity of delicate brain tissue to powerful EMF transmitters.

The good news is that most EMF exposure can be avoided or limited because it occurs in the home through the use of electric blankets, microwave ovens, hair dryers, television sets, and computers. Avoid getting too close to these devices while in use. Use regular blankets instead of electric ones, and make sure all appliances and electrical installations in your home are in working order with all protective devices and protocols in place.

14. Use a lot of skin care products, cosmetics, hair care products, nail care products, shampoos, soaps, perfumes, shaving cream, suntan lotion, and antibacterial soaps.

Beware of skin care products that cause harm by destroying the skin's natural pH and by introducing dangerous toxins to the body. Hair-coloring products used by approximately 40 percent of U.S. women, particularly brown and black hair products, are associated with increased incidence of Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma, Hodgkin's disease, and 20 percent of all non-Hodgkin's lymphoma! (There are several brands of natural hair-coloring products that are relatively safe.) Also avoid products containing DEA or TEA-these ingredients often contain carcinogenic nitrosamine impurities.

Toluene, a neurotoxic substance that triggers asthma attacks and causes asthma in previous unaffected people, was found in every fragrance sample tested by the EPA in 1991. The fragrance industry routinely uses 884 toxic substances. As for shampoos, many of the most common ingredients break down into formaldehyde.15 For detailed information on things to avoid and where to find good alternatives, see The Safe Shopper's Bible and Diet for a Poisoned Planet. As for antibacterial soaps, most of them contain triclosan, which may be absorbed through the skin and pose a risk to the liver. Plenty of regular soap, sufficiently heated running water, and thorough scrubbing will do the job just as well with no side effects. Clenzology is the best cleansing plan I've found to date.

15. Take lots of medications.

Every medicine has a side effect. There may a time and place for the use of medication, but much of the prescription activity in the U.S. perpetuates health problems by treating symptoms rather than their root causes. Medications such as antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and corticosteroids may cause major problems with the gastrointestinal terrain, damage the immune system, cause liver problems, and alter enzyme function. The practice of taking a baby aspirin a day to prevent heart attacks is dangerous, for instance. Aspirin can cause bleeding in the intestinal track and can be toxic to the liver. You get similar health benefits with no side effects by consuming foods in the Maker's Diet such as cold-water fish, fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants, and certain botanicals that naturally reduce the Cox-2 enzyme and provide other anti-inflammatory benefits.16

16. Get your cavities filled with mercury.

For more than 150 years, the dental profession has carefully avoided using the term mercury when describing the material used to fill tooth cavities for millions of Americans. They called it "silver amalgam," "silver fillings," or "amalgam fillings." The true composition of dental amalgam is 45 to 55 percent mercury, with about 30 percent silver and other metals such as copper, tin, and zinc. Mercury is a heavy metal toxin. According to BioProbe, an independent nonprofit watchdog agency, vapor released continuously from mercury amalgam fillings in your mouth can produce "neurological and psychiatric symptoms... such as depression, irritability, exaggerated response to stimulation, excessive shyness, insomnia, emotional instability, forgetfulness, confusion, and vasomotor disturbances such as excessive perspiration and uncontrolled blushing. Tremors are also common in individuals exposed to mercury vapor.?

The organization cites one estimate that approximately "26 million amalgam bearers whose allergies may be causally related to their mercury/amalgam dental fillings" would benefit by replacing mercury amalgam fillings with safer alternative materials.17 It may be difficult to find a dentist in your area who will fill your cavities with more natural materials, but it isn't impossible. The movement is growing despite significant opposition from the American Dental Association and state dental boards. Recent court challenges have begun to change the picture, however. Vivian Bradshaw Black offers another expert opinion on the subject in her article "Diet and Nutrition Principles"; "The human body is able to take rock, dolomite, mercury and other toxic metals from sucking it all day in tooth fillings; dirt, toxic chemicals, plastics etc., and such things should not even be introduced to the mouth if health is desired."18

17. Do aerobic exercise.

While I believe strongly in the need for regular exercise, my research indicates that high-intensity aerobic exercise producing a very high elevated heart rate for long periods of time through vigorous exercise such as jogging or running on hard surfaces is essentially unnatural to the body. Exercise, as the body was designed to by incorporating the principles of Functional Fitness. (See Appendix B.) Typically, human beings in virtually every culture engaged in the anaerobic type of functional exercise common to regular labor or work functions on the farm, at sea, or while hunting wild game.

Long-distance walking or slower-paced labor functions may have been punctuated by intense but relatively brief bursts of physical labor or high-speed movement. Intense aerobic exercise may lower immune response and create more oxidation through stress than anaerobic exercise (strength training). Marathon runners often struggle with decreased resistance to viruses and bacterial infections in peak training seasons. They also battle chronic ligament and joint problems that grow progressively worse in intensity and long-term degeneration of organs and tissues.

18. Wear contact lenses and receive implants of other foreign objects such as silicone breast implants.

Media reports constantly feature horror stories of movie stars (and ordinary people) whose lives were ruined after receiving silicon implants that burst, hardened within their bodies, or inflamed nearby tissues. Even contact lenses, especially the soft lens variety offered for long-term wear, pose significant infection risks to the wearers under certain conditions. These products offer certain conveniences and cosmetic benefits, but remember that they are still foreign substances that the Maker never intended for us to insert into the human body. I am convinced they pose risks to our immune systems.19

19. Live in a toxic home with toxic paint, carpet, mold, paraffin candles, etc.

You could fill a small library with the books and official research reports written on this subject. Do some research if you or your family suffer from allergies or unexplained physical symptoms. Many popular building materials, including plywood, particle board, treated lumber, adhesives, paint, paint thinners, insulation, paint strippers, carpets, and carpet pads-even decorative paraffin candles-contain highly toxic materials such as formaldehyde, chloroform, lead vapor, arsenic, and countless other toxins. They can enter your living area as gaseous vapors and increase the toxic load of the body. Add to that the problem of toxic black molds, and you have a very toxic home. For detailed information on this subject, see The Safe Shopper's Bible by David Steinman and Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Diet for a Poisoned Planet by David Steinman, and Toxic Relief by Don Colbert, M.D.

20. Wear synthetic fabrics.

The Maker's natural fibers produce the ideal clothing for the human body. Such natural fibers as wool and cotton are far better for the human body because they "breathe" and are better suited to handling human perspiration while preserving balanced body temperatures in hot or cold climates, Synthetic fibers often come from petroleum-based resins and other unnatural sources. Unfortunately, even conventionally grown cotton is often contaminated with numerous pesticides and chemical dyes. For details and safe sources of cotton clothing, see The Safe Shopper's Bible.20

21. Breathe with shallow breaths.

The Maker gave you two lungs with an amazing air capacity. Unfortunately, most of us use only a fraction of our lung capacity, and we suffer for it. Infants are instinctive "belly breathers;" but most of us have learned to breathe from our chest in short, shallow breaths that resemble a pant more than a deep breath. The body (and the brain and nervous system in particular) thrives on abundant oxygen. Proper breathing relieves stress and lowers blood pressure. Breathe from the abdomen or "belly" instead of from the chest. If your stomach moves outward when you take a deep breath (and any breath for that matter), then you have learned the secret of breathing fully from the diaphragm.

22. Swallow your food without chewing well (or at all).

Chewing is extremely important to proper digestion. The chewing reflex signals the body to release saliva containing the salivary enzyme ptyalin, a form of amylase, which begins to break down carbohydrates. Parotid glands behind the ears signal the thymus gland to produce T cells just in case the food contains toxins or pathogens. The ultimate goal of the process is to deliver food to the stomach in a liquid state. I'm convinced that my habit of "wolfing down food" in chunks contributed to the development of Crohn's disease in my body. Horace Fletcher, who lived in the early 1900s, had a wasting disease known as Addisons disease, which produced major digestive problems and weight loss. Mr. Fletcher allegedly cured himself by chewing each mouthful of food thirty-five to fifty times. His story inspired others who began chewing their food thoroughly; they called themselves "Fletcherizers." Don't go calling yourself a "Rubinizer," but I do recommend chewing each bite twenty-five to fifty times as needed-especially when eating foods high in carbohydrates such as grains, sugars, and starches. Always eat sitting down, and avoid watching TV, arguing, or doing something that requires concentration.

23. Use plastic food storage products, the popular food wraps, and re-use plastic drinking bottles.

Plastic products release or leach carcinogenic toxins into foods. The toxicity is increased when foods contain high amounts of water or when they are highly acidic. Water is one of nature's most effective solvents, and it is effective at drawing out toxins from plastic. According to The Safe Shopper's Bible, cling film contains carcinogenic by-products such as di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) and di-2-ethylhexyl (adipate) (DEHA), while plastic wrap contains residual traces of vinylidene chloride.21 As for aluminum wrap, you already know it's bad. Some aluminum inevitably leaches into foods it touches. (If you wash and reuse plastic water bottles, be aware that researchers say repeated washing and reuse of disposable water bottles may accelerate the breakdown of the plastic, increasing your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Do not use plastic water bottles more than twice at the most.)

24. Eat grocery store produce and processed foods treated with pesticides, herbicides, animal growth hormones, and antibiotics; don't forget hybridized, irradiated, and genetically altered foods.

What a mouthful-literally! Pesticides and herbicides comprise one of the world's most deadly classes of chemical compounds. If a pesticide or herbicide kills one thing, it will probably kill, mutate, or seriously damage a whole host of other things. The problem with these compounds is that they tend to stay on the fruit, vegetable, or plant they were applied to. Then there is the cumulative affect of adding the toxins from our water, air, food, and buildings year after year.

Animal growth hormones don't go away after an animal is butchered, prepared for market, or cooked. They go right into our stomachs and continue their work. Nor do they disappear from the milk of a cow treated with antibiotics. It is estimated that one glass of commercial, non-organic milk purchased from a grocery story may contain the residue of up to one hundred antibiotics! Many of the meats we eat come from animals fed antibiotic-laden feeds. Growth hormones in our food supply are blamed for causing the abnormally early menses of young girls and for the overabundance of female hormones in young men. (Female hormones are given to milk cows to increase milk production.)

Most pesticides are known carcinogens, and some of them pose as counterfeit versions of the female hormone estrogen. These xenoestrogens may promote cancer by stimulating estrogen receptors in the body.22 Hybridized foods are also very unhealthy with potentially deadly side effects. God says to eat every seed-bearing plant after its own kind. Hybridized, seedless watermelons or grapes cannot reproduce, and they may not be the healthy food sources we think they are. Genetically modified foods can be really dangerous, and irradiated foods offer many of the same problems and dangers as other forms of radiation. The government may reassure us they are safe, but the same government put U.S. soldiers at risk by encouraging them to stand in the open and watch the early tests of the atomic bomb-with disastrous results. Of course, they too were assured they were totally safe.

25. Wear tight underclothing.

The body's lymph system is absolutely crucial to the immune system. It is the first line of defense against cancer cells, toxins, and viral and bacterial attacks. Lymph nodes that are compressed or blocked by tight underclothing such as bras or other tight clothing may not allow the lymph system to be properly cleansed. It is conceivable that this may help contribute to the development or proliferation of cancer in the body. Women should not wear bras to bed.

26. Undergo surgery to remove "unnecessary body parts."

No one knows how many children fell victim to the medical myth common years ago that it was best to remove the tonsils to ensure the child wouldn't get tonsillitis-after all, the tonsils served no useful purpose anyway. This myth has since been disproved and discarded, but other equally arrogant myths persist about the supposedly useless appendix, an appendage that "lost its purpose in the process of evolution somewhere:" The truth is that the appendix and the tonsils are lymphoid tissues serving a very necessary purpose! They are not unnecessary as some doctors may say. If it was there when you were born, chances are your Maker intended for it to stay there until you die. Besides, you take your life in your hands every time you agree to enter a hospital for surgery. The risk of infection, surgical error, surgical complications, or dangerous drug interaction may be far greater than most of the problems you face outside of the hospital.

27. Visit your medical doctor often.

While I am thankful for all of the wonderful medical breakthroughs and excellent emergency medical care available in this country, you might want to know that according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, doctors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., causing 250,000 deaths every year.23 I know it sounds as if I have an ax to grind, but I don't. Most doctors are sincere, hard-working professionals who try to do their jobs well. However, the American healthcare system is not healthy. It is downright unhealthy at times because it has skewed its entire care system toward dispensing health out of a drug container.

The author of the article, Dr. Barbara Starfield of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, noted that a quarter of a million deaths occurred due to a physician's activity, manner, or therapy including 12,000 unnecessary surgeries, 7,000 medication errors in hospitals, 20,000 "other errors" in hospitals, 80,000 infections acquired in hospitals, and 106,000 "non-error, negative effects of drugs." (And these are the low estimates.) The report also notes that of the thirteen nations included in an international ranking of healthcare quality, the United States ranked twelfth, or second from the bottom!24

Many Americans have filled every one of these twenty-seven prescriptions for illness. Their bodies struggle to overcome an unbearable toxic load while fueled with poisonous processed junk food or non-nutritious pre-packaged foods. If the day comes when you are stricken with chronic sickness and pain, a desperate search for health will begin. Perhaps I have some hard-won advice that might help you avoid such a day, but the choice is up to you.

(The Makers Diet, Rubin, pgs 83-94)

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