My figs are in. They started earlier this year, around June 20 instead of the usual first week of July, and that’s because of the relentless sun we’ve had since April. Presently, I am harvesting the Celeste fig, which is the most popular Southern fig.  It is small and round and very sweet, and very easy to grow, being cold-hardy, drought-hardy, insect-hardy, and disease-hardy.  I also have a late fig called the Green Ischia, which is from the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples off the coast of Italy, where my maternal grandparents were born and raised. The Green Ischia stays green on the outside even when ripe, but inside, they are a beautiful strawberry red, and even the flavor reminds me of strawberry.

If you are living in zone 8 or lower, meaning as far north as Oklahoma, Arkansas, and in a line across to North Carolina, but much further north in California, you really should plant a fig tree.  They are easy to grow and do not require good, rich soil.  I live on the fringe of the Texas Hill Country where the soil is very shallow. It goes down about 2 inches, and then you get to this hard, white, caliche rock. And from that point on, it’s more like mining in a quarry than digging in the dirt. Yet, the figs will grow in it.

The fig tree is really an amazing tree. It can freeze all the way down to the ground in the winter, but then come out again from the root in the spring and replace itself within two seasons. The resilience of the fig tree is unbelievable.  Here in Austin, Texas, a lot of people will plant a fig tree, but in many cases, that is the last time they do anything for it. They don’t water it, feed it, prune it, shape it, or protect it in anyway.  Despite that, the tree will often deliver some fruit.  But, a fig tree responds well to any help you give it, and when you give them as much help as I give mine, they really take off. My fig trees are 25 feet tall, which is too tall for me to harvest the higher fruit, but I don’t mind sharing with the birds and squirrels.

Nutritionally, figs are not particularly high in vitamins, but they are very high in minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and iron.  And, that may be why they thrive in Central Texas because our calcium-based, caliche soils have an inexhaustible supply of calcium and other minerals.

There was an old saying in the South, “I don’t give a fig,” an expression of disregard and contempt, and what it was based on was the profusion of figs during the summer that were so plentiful and abundant that they were considered free for the taking.  I know the feeling.  I invite friends and family to come over and pick figs, and I wouldn’t dream of charging anybody. I’m just glad to see the fruit not go to waste.

So, if you have a sunny yard, front or back, by all means plant a fig tree. It is a life force you will definitely enjoy having in your living space.

American children are the most vaccinated in the world. The US government recommends 26 vaccine doses in the first year of life. I’ll say it again: that’s 26 vaccinations before the candles on the first birthday cake are blown out. Yet, 33 nations, all of whom administer fewer childhood vaccines, have better (i.e. lower) infant mortality rates than the United States. Even Communist Cuba has lower infant mortality than the USA.

 

So, two highly respected researchers did a scientific analysis of the question using a technique known as “linear regression analysis,” and they found a solid, statistically significant correlation between higher number of vaccine doses and higher rates of infant mortality. It was published in the highly reputable Human and Experimental Toxicology Journal, which is indexed by the National Library of Medicine.

 

Of the 10 nations with the lowest infant death rates, 7 of them have among the lowest childhood vaccination schedules in the world. For example, among developed nations, the ones with the lowest number of standard childhood vaccines, as ordained by government, are Japan and Sweden, and they rank 1 and 2, respectively, in having low infant mortality.

 

What does it mean? Does it mean that vaccinations are killing children? That is certainly what it looks like. I’m sure vaccination defenders would be quick to point out that statistics do not prove causation.  They may not prove it, but they certainly do suggest it. But why are we even talking about a higher death rate among the more vaccinated? Vaccinations are supposed to prevent diseases, and even common childhood diseases, such as the measles, have a certain mortality. For instance, the United Nations says that in the year 2000 alone, approximately 733,000 children worldwide died of the measles. If vaccinations are effective, should not the more vaccinated have a markedly lower death rate by virtue of avoiding the ravages of deadly diseases? Isn't that the whole purpose of vaccinating?

 

Therefore, I believe the next step should be to compare death rates between vaccinated  and unvaccinated children.  And when I say unvaccinated children, I do not mean children who go unvaccinated because of poverty, neglect, and inadequate care. That would introduce a whole different variable. I am referring to children who go unvaccinated because their parents deem that it would be injurious to their health to vaccinate them, that is, they forego vaccination out of informed conviction.

 

So far, the medical establishment has refused to do such a study.  But, the medical establishment has also long refused to do a study such as the one that was just done, and it, much to their dismay, did get published.  So, to the researchers who did that study, Gary Goldman and Neil Miller, I urge you to next look at infant mortality rates and health status between vaccinated and unvaccinated children in developed countries- and again, where not vaccinating was an informed choice and not the product of adverse home circumstances.

 

Again I’ll say that I had only one child, a boy, and he never received any vaccinations. Today, he is a robust 37 year old man, and he has never had a needle stuck into him.

 

I deny the evidentiary basis for vaccinations (although, since they refuse to do double-blind, placebo-controlled studies for any vaccine, there really is no evidentiary basis), and I deny the whole theoretical and technical paradigm for vaccinations as well.  And if any immunologist wants to debate it, I am available.

 

It has been reported widely that watermelon may have an effect similar to the drug Viagra but without adverse side effects.  Watermelon is high in the amino acid citrulline. The rinds are particularly high, but even the flesh contains 150 mgs of citrulline per 100 grams. Citrulline is a precursor to arginine, and arginine boosts nitric oxide,  which is the main vaso-dilator in the human circulatory system.

Watermelon is truly an extraordinary food.  First, it tastes sweeter than it is. The average watermelon has only 6 to 7 percent sugar by weight, which is less than grapefruit.  But, most people find it tastes much sweeter.   It’s almost like getting something for nothing.  Second,  red watermelon is very high in lycopene.  You actually see the lycopene because it is the lycopene that makes the melon red.  And lycopene, like citrulline, has been linked strongly to male sexual health. Third, watermelon is one of the highest dietary sources of glutathione, the sulfur-containing triple-amino acid that protects us from all kinds of free radicals and toxins.

What amuses me is how the mainstream sites, such as WebMD, have been disparaging the whole idea of better sex through watermelon.  One doctor said that hoping watermelon will improve sex is like dropping a bottle in the Mississippi River at Minneapolis and hoping that it will have an impact in New Orleans. That is a very unfair and exaggerated analogy, and especially for people like me, because when I sit down to eat watermelon, I make a meal of it.  We’re talking about some major flooding of my system with watermelon goodness.  I really don’t know how much impact the citrulline model holds, but when you look at the entire phytonutrient content of watermelon, it is truly awesome. But, I understand why they have to disparage watermelon- because they don’t want men rethinking their need for Viagra, Cialis, and/or Levitra.

I am finding that the quality of watermelon this year is exceptionally good, and I think I know why.  It’s because here in watermelon country (Texas) we are in the midst of a severe drought.  Normally, they grow watermelons in Texas by rain alone, but this year they have had to irrigate.  Our weather has not only been very dry but also very sunny.  Non-stop sun. We haven’t had a cloudy day in months.  And all that sunshine sweetens the watermelons like nothing else can.

Watermelon is probably the most popular food ever to spread out of Africa-unless you consider coffee a food.

Elaine Magee, a registered dietician with WebMD.com, wrote an excellent article defending potatoes,  and I applaud her for it.  She got the idea from attending a nutrition seminar in which speaker after speaker maligned potatoes, disparaging the lowly spud against other vegetables, saying “vegetables are good- except for potatoes.”  But worse than that, there have been moves afoot to ban potatoes from school lunch programs, as if they were a junk food contributing to the childhood obesity epidemic.  If they are, it’s only because of the likes of French fries.

Ms. Magee points out that a single medium-size white potato has more Vitamin C, B3, B6, and magnesium than a whole head of iceberg lettuce.  If you include the skin of the potato, it has almost as much fiber as the lettuce.  As for calories, that medium potato delivers 124, which isn’t bad, versus  116 for the lettuce.

Let me point out a few more things in defense of potatoes. Potatoes are one of the highest dietary sources of lipoic acid, which is an important antioxidant and detoxicant.  Besides halting free radical damage, lipoic acid, by virtue of its sulfur content, helps chelate heavy metals, such as lead and mercury, and excrete them from the body.

Are potatoes fattening? Experiments have been done putting people on potato diets for extended periods.   Each and every time, the potato diet has proved to be slenderizing.  Last year (2010) Chris Voigt, the Executive Director of the Washington Potato Commission, went on an all-potato diet for 60 days.  He ate 20 potatoes a day, and without toppings, such as cheese or sour cream or bacon bits.  That’s 1200 potatoes over two months, totaling 400 pounds of food. The result was: he lost 17 pounds.

But what about all that easily-digested potato starch turning to sugar? Doesn’t that cause diabetes? Let’s examine it. Type I Diabetes is an auto-immune disease that is certainly not caused by potatoes.  Genetics are believed to be involved.  Allergy to cow’s milk protein has been implicated as a triggering factor.  Infections have also been suggested as triggers, and nutritional deficiencies, such as gross Vitamin D deficiency, may set it off.  But again, it has nothing to do with potatoes.

Type II Diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, where the cell receptors to insulin just aren’t working.  Insulin resistance is caused by obesity, and potatoes fight obesity- unless you fry them or top them with unhealthy fats.  Insulin resistance has also been related to Vitamin D deficiency, chromium deficiency, and perhaps other deficiencies.  However, no whole, unrefined, properly prepared vegetable, including potatoes, contributes to the development of insulin resistance or diabetes.

But, what if you are already diabetic? Couldn’t potatoes pose a problem then?  There is a kernel of truth to that one.  You do have to be careful about your entire food consumption once you become diabetic , but I would not eliminate potatoes even from the diet of a diabetic.  For instance, a plain potato digests very quickly, but if you combine it with a wholesome fat such as avocado (which is a delicious combination) blood sugar spikes can be avoided.  The important thing is to keep your eye on the big picture, and the big picture is that whole, natural, unrefined plant foods, including potatoes, support good health and good metabolism. If you don't want to eat white potatoes because they are white, then do as I do and buy the gold potatoes, which are available yearround. They taste great too.

I just received a mass e-mailing from a law firm about class action lawsuits against companies that make acid blockers, also known as proton pump inhibitors. There have been numerous birth defects in the children of women who took these drugs during pregnancy.  These have involved the heart, the lungs, the limbs, the kidneys,  and more. And among others taking these powerful acid blockers, the harms have included fractures, seizures, kidney problems, infections, stomach problems, bowel problems, and much more. What's really daunting is how widely these drugs are prescribed. Nexium (which is really just a tweaked form of Prilosec- a way to get around the patent expiration on the older drug) is currently the 3rd bestselling drug in the world. The only drugs generating higher sales are #1 Lipitor (a statin to lower cholesterol) and #2 Plavix (a very dangerous blood thinner).  And the fact is that, as we speak, there are massive class action lawsuits against the makers of those drugs as well.  What does this mean about the state of Modern Medicine? It means that Modern Medicine is engaged in dispensing very dangerous and harmful drugs and (with government collusion) selling them at such high prices that they can afford to absorb the burden of big financial settlements  to victims and still make money.  And where do doctors fit into this scheme? Doctors are merely the foot soldiers or pawns.  They do as they're told and write the scripts. And there isn't much thinking involved. For instance, how many doctors who write prescriptions for Nexium are aware that most heartburn sufferers have less stomach acid than normal, healthy subjects? The awful reality about Nexium is that besides being inherently toxic with numerous adverse side effects that even when it succeeds at neutralizing stomach acid, it is doing a very bad thing with serious health-destroying consequences.  How many doctors stop to think about the wisdom of destoying a person's stomach acid? Producing acidity is the most important thing that the stomach does.  When you neutralize a person's stomach acid, you are neutralizing their whole stomach.  They might as well not have one.  Their ability to digest proteins suffers severely, and that impairs not just the muscles which require protein, but the immune system,  the hormonal system, the digestive system, and much more.  It cripples functioning and renewal throughout the body. But, it also makes the person extremely vulnerable to infection because one of the jobs of stomach acid is to sterilize the stomach.  And when I say sterilize, I mean kill every living thing in it. You've been hearing about the latest E-coli outbreak in Europe from the cucumbers or the sprouts or whatever? Well, then pity the poor soul who gets exposed to it while taking Nexium. Hello glomerulonephritis.
So, what should you do about acid reflux? Well, there are any number of things you could try, but whatever you do, don't take acid blockers.  Do not take the proton pump inhibitors such as Nexium, and do not take H2 antagonists such as Tagamet. Hey, if you want to take Regular Tums, I am not concerned about that because it's just calcium carbonate.  But don't take the Dual Action Tums because it has an acid blocker added to the calcium.
To protect delicate tissues from the effects of acid reflux, you can take mastic gum. Another good substance for that purpose is deglycerated licorice.  We offer the two combined in a product called Ceasefire, but you can find them both separetely, including online.  Another thing that works well is peppermint, and we offer it as peppermint gum and peppermint mints. There are other home remedies that people swear by, that work for some but not others. But from the standpoint of addressing the cause, what appeals to me most is taking hydrochloric acid.  That's right,  if you increase the acid, the secreting stops, and the heartburn goes away. Remember what I said that most heartburn sufferers have too little stomach acid- not too much.
And then there are also all the lifestyle factors you can address. If you smoke, quit, because smoking causes acid reflux. If you drink alcohol, ditto, so cut it out.  If you are overweight, drop that excess body fat because it causes acid reflux. And if you are used to stuffing yourself  with food as a pastime, find another hobby because it isn't the acid that causes acid reflux: it is the pressure. And obviously, the more you fill your stomach- the more you stuff it- the more pressure there is going to be.  So eat moderately.  Eat to live; don't live to eat. Does eating spicy food contribute to the problem? Maybe a little, but I am more concerned about overeating than eating spices.
So what does Nexium really represent? The answer is: the crux of everything that is wrong in Medicine.  Nexium is bad medicine pushed on millions.