A couple of days ago, a friend e
-mailed me a link to an article headlined "This 'Beloved'
Food Can Cause Allergic Reactions For Years -- and
Infertility For Generations."
This food in question:
consume a lot of it. The
link went to a respected and frequented web site of a doctor
heralded for his holistic healing views.
He summarizes things he read elsewhere -- in this case
here -- and then
adds his own two cents about it.
So is it true?
Is getting the masses to believe (unfermented) soy is
a health food a "perfect example of how a brilliant
marketing strategy can fool millions," as the Doc maintains.
The Doc goes on to say that "the risks of consuming
unfermented soy products far outweigh the possible benefits
. . . [there are] thousands of studies linking soy to
malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown,
thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive
disorders and infertility -- even cancer and heart disease."
Could soy even be responsible for the U.S. national
deficit, the radiation scare in Japan, and the reason that
Finnish girl in that beer bar in Helsinki on New Year's Eve
in 1991 went home with someone else?
I didn't know what to believe.
A few months back, I
watched Food, Inc and listened to a series of
podcasts which covered the strong corn and soy lobbies in
the United States. The motives for the soybean lobby
seemed clear: hype soy's endless magical benefits,
true or not, to get the population to embrace it and
increase their profits. If unfermented soy were really
such a demonic food, it wouldn't be the first time the
public was lied to.
On the other hand, soy being so
terrible for you made absolutely no sense.
Tofu has been around since 164 BC, if you believe the
most commonly held theory for its origins.
East Asians and Southeast Asians embraced it and,
up to their recent lust for Western fast food, were leaner
and healthier than the average American.
Edamame, a preparation of young soybeans in the pod, another
unfermented soy dish, is commonly eaten by the Japanese,
whose life expectancies are among the highest in the world.
If unfermented soy was as bad as the media was now saying, shouldn't the Asians who've traditionally been big
consumers of it have suffered more reproductive disorders and
infertility, immune system disruptions, and thyroid problems
-- at least before globalization brought soy to the West and
junk food to the East?
Prior to reading that link about the
horrors of soy, I believed soy, at least non-genetically
modified soy used in unprocessed foods, to be good for the
body. I still
do, particularly after reading this well written
article by John Robbins.
Much of the conclusions made about soy were drawn
from genetically modified strains or the effects of soy on
animals were presumed to be the same for humans.
My belief, however, doesn't make it true.
Something is true or false regardless of a personal
belief on the matter.
And real knowledge is only acquired where our beliefs
intersect with the real truth.
Now here's the problem.
Our beliefs can be and are manipulated by
broadcasts sent from the most powerful and loudest
Meanwhile, the truth can be hidden or disguised, so that we
have no idea what the real truth even is.
The picture produced is unfounded belief intersecting
with a mistaken view of what is true, an intersection that
can no longer be called genuine knowledge.
Look at this common example.
To this day, most people, even those considered
conventionally intelligent, believe that dairy is one of the
finest sources of calcium.
Per 100 gram portion, cow's milk contains 120 mg of
calcium, about four times the calcium found in human breast
milk, though the human milk has over twice the
For now let's put aside the issue of how much of the
calcium in the cow's milk is actually absorbed by the body
and just focus on the content.
An identical portion of almonds, amaranth, black or
pinto beans, chick peas, collard greens, dandelion greens,
hazelnuts, kale, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and water
cress, to name just a few items, contain the same as
or more calcium than cow's milk.
So why do most people associate dairy first with
Because they've been told to, endlessly, by their country's
As most of us are what New Age conspiracist David Icke calls
'repeaters,' we hear and register what we've been told and
repeat the message, without question.
And what about global warming?
It's taken as a given that the globe is heating up
due to anthropogenic impact.
Al Gore shouted that message in his Academy
Award-winning movie An Inconvenient Truth and won a
Nobel Peace Prize for it, so it must be true.
Yet it does seem strange that this imminent
catastrophe, as Gore calls it, only came to the public's
wide attention since Gore left the White House and went into
the private sector.
Only thirty-five years ago, the talk in the
mainstream was of global cooling, as printed in
Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric physicist and
professor of meteorology
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
about his skepticism of global warming way back in 1992
before Gore came publicly onto the warming scene.
Christopher Monckton, a former policy advisor to
ex-British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, points out
"inconvenient truths" in Gore's movie.
Monckton/Lindzen and Gore can't both be right.
You'll see this dichotomy all around
you. In a
trial, one expert witness swears something is true while
another expert witness swears the opposite.
The artificial sweetener aspartame is deemed to be
safe for humans in more than ninety countries, and American
FDA officials describe it as "one of the most thoroughly
tested and studied food additives the agency has ever
approved," according to a 1999 article in FDA Consumer
But elsewhere, you
hear that aspartame is an excitotoxin, damaging nerve cells
killed by excessive stimulation of neurotransmitters.
Both sides can't be right.
We're not talking about opinions here,
such as which policy should we adopt for the environment.
Two camps may have different views on that subject
and both could be beneficial.
Nor are we asking questions that are a matter of
taste, like which chocolate bar is the best.
Our questions are much simpler.
Either dairy is one of the best sources of
bioavailable calcium or it's not.
Either the world is warming due to human-instigated
factors or it's not.
Either aspartame is safe
-- with safe defined in an unambiguous fashion most
of us would agree on -- or it's not.
Multiple parties are trying to sell us differing sets
From whom do we make our purchase?
Where do we look to get the real truth in order to
broaden our real knowledge?
Let's look at how you suss out "the
truth" in other situations.
If you were in the market to purchase a brand new
car, how would you go about finding the best car for your
you'd look up vehicles that fit your budget range.
Then, you'd look up the specs on the vehicles to see
which provided the best bang for your bucks.
After that, you'd want to acquire as much information
as you could about safety and reliability and whether the
company manufacturing it was in good standing.
Last, you'd visit the car lot, armed with all your
findings, and ask some pointed questions to the salesman to
see if the car truly met your needs.
I wrote in
The Lack Of A Lack Of
Quality that you usually can't believe a salesman's
word. If all of us
were only willing to work for employers and in situations
that suited our highest good, then all of us would be
regularly operating from a point of high integrity.
In such a world, a salesman wouldn't be working at a
particular place unless he truly believed in the quality of
the product he was selling.
He could then honestly tell you about his experiences
with the product, and if what he said vibrated with you,
you'd make a purchase.
But unfortunately, that's not the case.
The salesman trying to hawk you that "best" Chevrolet
today would turn around and sell you a Honda tomorrow if he
were working at a Honda lot.
After you'd done copious amounts of
research on the vehicle you were thinking of buying, queried the salesman about it, and he gave you facts that
you knew to be erroneous, you'd then have good reason not to
believe a further word the salesman said, even if some
of what he said was true.
His motives would be obvious.
He'd be putting his personal profit above your well
The same could be said for the many
other "salesman" out there trying to get you to believe in
their agendas. I
have a simple method I follow to stay alert.
Just follow the money trail and your own information
trail to gauge the likelihood of a salesman trying to meet his own
interests over yours.
Is dairy really the best way to get calcium?
No, it's not, and if I wanted to argue further, I
could say dairy products aren't very healthy for you at all
(but I'll leave that discussion for another time).
Dairy makes up a huge segment of country's economies.
Australia has a A$9bn dairy industry; the state of
In 2008, California's dairy business generated $63bn in
economic activity and almost a half a million fulltime jobs.
There's a clear monetary incentive, right to the top
of governments, to convince the public that milk does a body
good. That's a red
flag to be alert about anything glowingly reported about
hard to see as clear and as lucrative a profit trail with
the anti-dairy coalition. Their main mission appears to be to
educate the public about the myriad health myths ascribed to
The money trail is even easier to
follow with global warming.
The conventional belief today, propounded by Gore in
particular, is that man's actions are the cause of global
"Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb" warns the
website for his film.
Gore is well known for advocating that we all live
carbon-neutral lifestyles, yet at the time of the release of
his film, there was no evidence that Gore was practicing
much of what he preached.
He and his then wife lived in a 10,000-square foot
mansion in Nashville and a 4,000 square foot home in
Arlington, Virginia, neither of which were using green
According to the Tennessee Center For Policy Research, Al
Gore's Nashville manse used more than twice the electricity
in one month than the average American household consumes in
an entire year.
Gore's entreaties to go green ring as hollow as a car
salesman urging you to "Buy American" as he sits behind the
wheel of his Mercedes or Lexus.
Follow the trail, and you'll see that Al
Gore's agenda is cool hard cash,
and he's minted at least $100m of it since he left public
He backs a cap and trade scheme for carbon emissions
that creates an artificial scarcity in the right to produce
energy. He is
chairman and one of the founders of Generation Investment
Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and former Goldman
Sachs CEO is another founder.
With Gore's ample ties to finance and government, he
and his company are well poised to cash in on carbon trading
if/when emissions legislation is enacted by his government
buddies -- what would amount to a stealth tax on consumers.
Aspartame is a different name, but the
same situation of the well connected flitting in between the
public and private sectors and crafting the situation to
enrich their own and their backers' pockets.
the former Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush, was
CEO of Searle, the conglomerate which manufactured
sweetener had first been discovered, by accident, in 1965.
For 16 years, the FDA wouldn't approve it.
The first application for FDA approval was made in
1973 and turned down.
In 1981, with Rumsfeld on President Reagan's
Reagan approved a new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hayes
Hull, Jr, and in 1983 aspartame was given the greenlight,
to be used in carbonated beverages. In 1985, genetically modified food giant Monsanto
purchased Searle for $2.7bn, earning Rumsfeld an estimated
$12m. The rest
is drinking history.
How do the anti-aspartamers profit to
There is not one clearly defined rival that could swoop in
to take aspartame's throne if aspartame were banned
tomorrow. Three years ago, there was talk that Natur
Research Ingredients was seeking to gets its all-natural
sweetener, Cweet, generally recognized as safe status from
the U.S. FDA.
The all-natural sweetener stevia has been around for awhile,
and you can now find sodas manufactured with it, but stevia
is made from a plant.
It's not a drug, and as such, there's no patent on it
and no one company that would rake in the lion's share of
sweet profits if aspartame vanished.
As a kid, I thought I could read the
encyclopedia to acquire knowledge.
My family had a dated 1960 Encyclopedia Britannica
edition in the house, a relic from my parents' newlywed
days, so at least I knew the 'knowledge' I was receiving wasn't
Today, we all have virtual encyclopedias in our
homes, via the internet, updated perpetually, not once a
year. We have
access to news feeds 24/7.
At the touch of our fingertips, we can always find
someone willing to tell us what to believe, and if we hear
it enough times from what appear to be different (but may
actually be the same) sources, we take those beliefs to be
facts and build ourselves a foundation of knowledge as shaky
as American subprime mortgages pre-2008. Few take the time
to probe further to analyze if what they've been told adds
Just like buying anything, buying a
belief is best done from someone who has no desperate
interest in selling to you.
The first thing a person who's
found real truth
does is not aggressively sell space in a workshop promising
to help you find the truth.
Buddha did not run enlightenment seminars -- or even start Buddhism.
If you want the real truth, you must actively take a
role in going out there to find it.
The truth, you'll see, obeys an unusual price
real cost comes from never finding it.
For those who make the effort, it's given away free.