Tag Archives: consumerism

The Myth of the Wellness Warrior

Please note, this is Part One of a series. Click here to jump to Part Two or follow the link at the end of this post. Part Two contains some very important information that greatly expands upon some of what is raised here.

Somehow I managed to miss the name Candice-Marie Fox when I was going through earlier research on foods that are claimed to cure cancer, of which her pineapple diet ranks as one of the more ludicrous. Through the grapevine, I learned of this diet yesterday and immediately I wanted to find out if there was anything plausible about it. Certainly, pineapple is healthy to eat and it is often used for digestive issues due to its enzymatic activity, so I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. Of course, I did not expect that there would be an actual cure in there, but maybe I could ascertain some actual benefits to the diet that transcended my initial skepticism. I was excited about this possibility; less so about discovering one more person preparing to cash in on a faux cure.

Pineapple is good for you.

A quick Google search brought up hundreds of articles online about how this woman, Candice-Marie Fox, a former model (always in the lead of the story), beat “Stage 3” or “Stage 4” (depending on the article) thyroid cancer by “ditching her husband” and eating a diet dominated by pineapple and other fruits. As is often the case in this sort of story, even as it is translated into multiple languages, the text is almost identical from web site to web site. And most of those articles can be traced back to a source in that British rag called the Daily Mail — not exactly a solid, investigative news source.

A few other “news” outlets picked the story up. It makes great click bait, after all. But fascinatingly, these actual news stories manage to get a whole bunch of facts wrong. Which is not surprising, as the former model herself seems to trip over her own facts many times, even in interviews on other web sites after her celebrity began to grow.

Continue reading The Myth of the Wellness Warrior

Integrative Medicine, Positive Care and Negative Ramifications

If we, as a society, could allocate just an additional $120 million each year toward research and development of new cancer treatments, that would seem like a great idea. Because there is a lot of money out there already directed at existing therapies, running clinical trials of proven concepts and supporting the refinement of effective treatments already in existence, it also seems like a great idea to take this $120 million and direct it toward new concepts and approaches that are not yet mainstreamed into Western Medicine. This is the reason, I suspect, that over the past twenty years or so, Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) has morphed into Integrative Medicine and has been granted enormous research subsidies and acceptance within many mainstream health institutions. Allocating even a mere $120 million is a huge responsibility, so it also seems like it would be a great idea to carefully vet the areas on which the funding will be spent.

Here is some amazing news: the actual amount of government funding for research on Complementary and Alternative Medicine in 2015 and 2016 has reached $369 and $378 million annually, according to the National Institute of Health. This should be a Golden Age of Medical Advancement! Sizable annual funding being made available outside of the mainstream of modern medicine must be the answer to why there has been no definitive Cancer Cure.

Only it isn’t. And the reason is Continue reading Integrative Medicine, Positive Care and Negative Ramifications

The True Meaning of Christmas, or Don’t Let Religion Ruin the Holidays

Christmas is quickly coming upon us — at least those of us who celebrate the holiday. True believers, and by that I do not necessarily mean believers in Truth, will have us know that this is the time when we celebrate the birth of their favorite martyr, Jesus Christ. They will tell you that the focus of this holiday is meant to be upon the deeds and messages of the Christ, and they will occasionally complain about the commercialized nature of the holiday. On that last point, I agree with them wholeheartedly. Too many people seem to believe that Christmas is about celebrating excess consumerism, branded marketing and petty indulgences. Yet the real meaning of the holiday isn’t exactly either of those extremes.
Continue reading The True Meaning of Christmas, or Don’t Let Religion Ruin the Holidays

When Being Unfortunate is Good Fortune

People talk about luck all the time. Good luck that this happened, bad luck that that happened. It is spoken of as if “luck” is an actual thing, with a consciousness or purpose. Yet, rationally, we should all understand that luck does not exist. There is “chance.” There are “odds.” But there is no such thing as luck outside of an emotional response to fortune (or lack of it). That is to say, one might feel fortunate if, for instance, one were to be diagnosed with a chronic disease early enough to do something to stem the tide, or live in a country where the survival rates are generally above 50 percent and increasing rather than decreasing.

Of course, there are those who would be in a wealthy country with cutting edge healthcare and an early diagnosis who would still only see their personal misfortune with such a diagnosis. But this isn’t about those pathetically myopic individuals, this is about the reason we should be glad we don’t live in India. And if you happen to be reading this from within the borders of India, my apologies, but hopefully you are a politically motivated activist with the means to make your voice heard.
Continue reading When Being Unfortunate is Good Fortune

Rejecting Research Is Never a Good Option

As a person living with cancer, I get suggestions all the time to look at non-medical treatments. By this, I mean mainly nutritional or holistic approaches that are meant to directly replace the use of “Western” medicine. Each suggestion comes with an anecdotal reference to someone who was “cured” by these methods, which range from the clearly bizarre to sensible health choices. Digging deeper, of course, reveals that every verifiable success story includes the use of early surgery or extensive chemo and radiation therapies.

And none of them, so far, have applied directly to my particular brand of cancer.

It doesn’t bother me so much to

Continue reading Rejecting Research Is Never a Good Option

Cheap Wisdom: Not Worth Anything.

I love Yogi tea, and that can be an actual endorsement. It is good tea. But their little tags with “wise” little quotes can be ludicrous.  Take the one I encountered this morning: “True understanding can only be found through compassion.” Really? So you can only encounter something by first engaging with itself? Or what? When you

Cheap wisdom on the label of a tea bag
More meaninglessness from America’s most trusted source of wisdom.

realize that compassion MEANS the attempt to understand, not only does it become clear that the quote lacks any substance whatsoever, but that it is also backwards. And this is indicative of cheap wisdom, the intent of which is never to actually encourage thought, but rather to encourage passive acceptance. It  becomes insidious when applied toward broader social aims, and is a tactic routinely used in politics as well as commercial advertising. Continue reading Cheap Wisdom: Not Worth Anything.

Photoshop: Unhealthy Images Are Bad For You

Will New Attitudes and Regulatory Oversight Hit Delete on Photo Retouching in Print Ads? | Adweek. It’s true, people do make unhealthy lifestyle choices based on images that they see in print, especially advertising media that purport to show the ideals of beauty. As amazingly idiotic as it may seem, there are still plenty of people who will overlook the obvious nature of retouched images and still consider the ideal plausible; starvation, manic exercise, dubious diets and loads of money wasted on beauty products are the result of this determination to fight against reason and strive for an impossible body image.

Image manipulation example
Air brushing and touch up example from linked article

Business Promotion – Necessary Evil

As much as I am inclined not to do this sort of thing, I will occasionally share info about companies I actually use. This is one of them: Overnight Prints. The pricing is pretty awesome, especially when compared to the local printers I was just bidding out and the big online behemoth, VistaPrint, which I have used for “free” items in the past… They seem to run lots of specials, but the best part appears to be simply the superior product at a highly competitive price.

Click here to check out Business Cards, Postcards, Flyers, Brochures, Letterhead , Greeting Cards & Envelopes Overnight.

I’m also a fan of Moo, but they tend to be a lot more expensive (if still very cool), so I may write about them briefly another time.
In the meantime, if I MUST promote myself offline, then I’m currently getting my printing done here.
End of the plug.

Panic: Very Unhealthy

Fear mongering, as you should know by now, is one of the top ways that people or corporations get you to buy. This is true politically as well as economically, so it is always worth reminding ourselves that panic is a reaction that circumvents intellect. Sometimes it is certainly warranted, but (hopefully) not often. So, when being approached with an idea or a product that is presented from a fear-based perspective, always think twice and look closely.

Here is an interesting example that I came across online: Survival Joe’s Newsletter. It even comes with one of those handy newfangled barcode links for those of you who have a free smartphone in your hand as you read this.jbfy1-survivalj-qrcode-MEDIUM

Continue reading Panic: Very Unhealthy

Nutritional Claims: Don’t Believe the Hype

When a product claims to be “A good source of calcium!” – beware. Chances are that this is a smokescreen to get you to purchase an unhealthy product.

Seriously, suggesting that Product X is a good source of calcium is akin to stating that gin is a good source of water. Certainly, drinking 16 ounces of gin could be one way of getting a “serving” of water toward your daily quota. But is it the best way? Making gin your sole source of water would have disastrous consequences, at least for your liver. Probably also for your relationships and career, but that is another issue altogether.

A list of other candidates for a “good source” of water would necessarily include espresso, which is also a diuretic. This is the same sort of logic that many mega-brand corporate “food” packagers appear to follow Continue reading Nutritional Claims: Don’t Believe the Hype