Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting

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Journal of a Wayward Philosopher
Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting

August 4, 2016
Hot Springs, VA

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.” – H.L. Mencken

The S&P closed out Wednesday at $2,163. Gold closed at $1,364 per ounce. Crude Oil closed at $41.08 per barrel, and the 10-year Treasury rate closed at 1.54%. Bitcoin is trading around $584 per BTC today.

Dear Journal,

Election season is now in full swing here in the U.S. – much to the agony of those of us who believe in human liberty, voluntary association, and participatory networks.

Once again the intelligentsia have convinced people that their future hinges directly upon the outcome of the next presidential election, and inevitably we non-voters are denounced for lack of patriotism by the 40% of the population who still place their faith in the voting booth. Naturally, our first reaction is to stand up for ourselves and explain our position:

“The essence of politics is coercion and, if necessary, violence…”, we attempt to explain in vain. Continue reading “Ten Things To Do Instead of Voting”

Fruits and Vegetables May Protect Kids From Asthma and Allergies

by Neustaedter, OMD – ICPA.org:Fruits and Vegetables

Children in rural Crete have an especially low incidence of allergies and wheezing (asthma). The diet among this population is typically high in locally grown fruits and vegetables. These facts led researchers to examine whether there was an association between diet and allergies in these children.

What they found can reassure and inspire us all as parents to pursue a healthy whole foods diet for our children.

The study included 690 children aged 7 to 18 years living in rural areas of Crete. Parents completed a food questionnaire that rated intake on a scale of six from never to more than once per day for each category of foods. The foods in the survey included vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, cereal, dairy products, meat, poultry, and margarine. Parents also completed a symptom questionnaire that included a current history (in the past 12 months) of respiratory and allergic symptoms.

They discovered that children with a daily consumption of grapes, oranges, apples, and fresh tomatoes had less asthma. Eating oranges, but not other fruits, was associated with less nasal allergies. Eating nuts more than three times per week was also associated with less wheezing.

Consuming margarine, however, showed a correlation with more wheezing and allergies. Other suspect food items, such as fast foods and fried foods, were not included in the study. Other studies have shown an increased incidence of asthma in children consuming fast foods.

The traditional Mediterranean diet contains a high proportion of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds, and is high in essential fatty acids, fiber, polyphenols from olive oil, and vitamins E and C. In this study children with a primarily Mediterranean diet had a lower incidence of nasal allergies and nighttime coughing.

The message from this study is clearly that children with allergies may benefit from eating a diet with a high proportion of fruits and vegetables, and that this type of diet may be preventive for allergies and asthma as well. Parents would do well to make fruits available to children throughout the day, pack fruits in school and camp lunches, and avoid processed foods with added sugar and corn syrup. Never use margarine. And don’t forget to include nuts in children’s diets as well (including walnuts, pecans, and almonds).

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.

How We Are Making Our Children Sick

by Sean Manning, DC – ICPA.org:sick

The purpose of the immune system is to allow us to live in harmony with our environment. In fact, most of the trillions of foreign cells present within our body coexist peacefully, and in some cases even contribute to our health and well-being. In spite of this, chronic diseases such as allergies, asthma, and eczema, which were rare several decades ago, have risen exponentially, especially in children, quadrupling during the last two decades.

The number of asthma sufferers in the United States is expected to double by the year 2020, affecting 1 in every 14 people and outnumbering the combined projected populations of New York and New Jersey. A growing number of scientists now believe that the routine measures taken to suppress and prevent infections actually weaken certain responses of a child’s immune system, allowing other less appropriate responses to operate without control. The reduction of childhood diseases has been heralded as one of medicine’s finest accomplishments, yet there are growing suspicions that infection intervention may be having an adverse effect; as childhood infections have decreased, chronic afflictions have increased.

The immune system has two different aspects: the cell-mediated immune system and the humoral immune system. The cell-mediated immune system involves white blood cells and specialized immune cells which “eat” antigens, or foreign particles in the body. This helps drive the antigens out of the body causing symptoms such as skin rashes and the discharge of pus and mucous from the throat and lungs. The cell-mediated response is associated with the beneficial acute inflammatory illnesses of children, and represents the externalization, or driving out of the infection.

The other aspect is called the humoral immune system whereby antibodies—special defense proteins—are produced to recognize and neutralize the antigen. It is a persistent humoral response that is associated with chronic allergic-type diseases.

In order to be healthy, a child must keep a balance between the cell-mediated system and the humoral system, with the cell-mediated system predominating. The cell-mediated response is activated by the natural exposure to bacteria and viruses, in the way children are exposed by interacting with their friends. Through repeated exposure to infectious organisms a child develops a diverse repertoire of immune response patterns. It is the cellmediated response that protects a child from future illness, and develops the type of immune response we commonly associate with life-long immunity. The cell-mediated system suppresses the activity of the humoral system. The more active the cell-mediated activity is, the less active the humoral system is.

However, if the cell-mediated system is not properly stimulated it does not fully develop, leading to an abnormally high production of humoral system antibodies. A humoral system that is continually engaged will overdevelop, creating a hypersensitive environment. When infants are exposed to germs early, their immune systems are pushed to go in an “infection-fighting direction.” Without this push, the immune system’s shift to infection fighting is delayed, and it becomes more likely to overreact to allergens—dust, mold, and other environmental factors that most people can tolerate.

Early life experiences are believed to play a crucial role in the formation and patterning of a child’s immune system. Sensitization begins in utero and the first few months of life are crucial, for once cell-mediated/humoral imbalance occurs it tends to persist until specific measures are taken to shift the immune system back to equilibrium. There are several ways that pattern the reaction of the immune system toward either the cell-mediated response or the humoral response based on their timing and frequency. The important thing for a parent to understand is that their child’s immune system will react based on the way it has been patterned and programmed to react. If your child’s current immune capacity is poor, then it is possible to improve it by making better choices in the future.


There are numerous reports that suggest the excessive cleanliness practiced in modern society may be partly responsible for the increased incidence of allergic diseases. Repeated exposure while young to various types of bacteria and spores found in dirt, dust, and animal dander may actually protect against the development of allergies. A molecule known as an endotoxin naturally occurs in the outer membrane of bacteria. When the bacteria die the endotoxin is released into the environment. Children are exposed to these endotoxins by breathing them in, or by ingesting them when they put their hands or other objects into their mouths. The exposure to bacteria, viruses, and endotoxins is essential for the maturation of the immune system; less exposure leads to imbalanced immune responses.

Children’s early exposure to allergens and infections prime their immune systems to resist them later on. Although children in daycare seem to get sick more often than other children do, this is not necessarily a bad thing. These colds and other infections may be giving their immature immune systems a health workout, resulting in a lower incidence of asthma. Children with the highest degree of personal hygiene are the most likely to develop eczema and wheezing between the ages of two and a half and three and a half years. In 2000, a study of 61 infants between the ages of 9–24 months found that the more house dust an infant was exposed to, the less likely that they would suffer allergies.


Antibiotics given in the first year of life quadruple a child’s risk of developing asthma. Children given antibiotics after age one year are still one and a half times more likely to develop asthma than children not given antibiotics. What is particularly concerning is that every course of antibiotic treatments a child increases the occurrence of allergies and that treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics, such as streptomycin, tetracycline, and Cipro®, appear to be more likely to be associated with allergy development than is ordinary penicillin.

Antibiotics enhance allergic reactions by sidestepping the normal immune system response. Whenever the immune system successfully deals with an infection it emerges from the experience stronger and better able to confront similar threats in the future. Through the process of developing and then conquering infection, the child gets rid of acquired toxins and poisons from the body and receives a boost to the immune system. If you always jump in with antibiotics at the first sign of infection you do not give the immune system a chance to grow stronger.

Antibiotics also act nonspecifically, killing infectious bacteria as well as upsetting the normal gut flora. Substances that are introduced through the mouth are normally ignored by the humoral system. But, in order for this to occur, the normal bacteria in the intestines need to be present. Alterations in the normal intestinal bacteria levels, especially in infancy, allow food proteins and other particles to pass into the blood stream before they are broken down, where the body identifies them as a threat, contributing to a persistent humoral response and the development of allergic diseases.


Most childhood infections are caused by viruses, and thus do not respond to antibiotics, hence the development of our current vaccine program. Infections contracted naturally are ordinarily filtered through a series of immune system defenses. Naturally-contracted viral diseases stimulate a cell-mediated response, and it appears that because of this, early viral infections are protective against allergic diseases. When a vaccine is injected directly into the blood stream, it gains access to all of the major tissues and organs of the body without the body’s normal advantage of a total immune response. This results in only partial immunity, consequently the need for “booster” shots. Vaccines stimulate a humoral response so their contents are never discharged from the body, the way they would be if the disease were naturally contracted, leaving the body in a chronic state of sensitization. In a study of 448 children, 243 had been vaccinated against whooping cough. Of these, 10% had asthma compared to less than 2% of the 205 children in the non-vaccinated group, suggesting that the pertussis vaccination can increase the risk of developing asthma by more than five times.

Dietary Fat Consumption

Chicken nuggets, potato chips, and other fried foods, while convenient for parents, are relegating their children’s immune systems to behave badly. Another factor that has been identified as a contributor to the rise in allergic diseases is the increased consumption of omega-6 fatty acids and the decreased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids. It has been known for many years that individuals with allergic conditions have disproportionately high levels of omega- 6 fatty acids in their blood. Omega-6 fatty acids actually suppress the immune system and promote inflammation, and allergic responses are, by their very nature, inflammatory. Sources of omega-6 fatty acids are corn, cotton, soybean, peanut, safflower, and sunflower. Omega-6 fatty acids are also present in most animal products.

Inversely, omega-3 fatty acids are known to enhance immunity, reduce inflammation, and protect the nervous system. Dietary omega-3 fatty acids have well documented immunological effects. Sources are flax, hemp, walnut, and cold water fatty fish, especially salmon. It is important to note though that the plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids are inadequate for infants and thus offer minimal benefit early in life. One study showed that children who regularly consumed oily fish were 74% less likely to develop asthma. Other studies show that fish oil supplementation is associated with improved asthma symptoms and reduced medication usage. The immune benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are likely greater during the critical stages of early immune development before the allergic responses are established, so it is recommended that women monitor their fatty acid intake during pregnancy and continue to do while nursing. Once the child is old enough there are omega-3 products designed specifically for children.


The focus of science has shifted from separate entities of the immune system and nervous system to an interactive immunology model. It is now understood that there is an intimate connection between the nervous system and the immune system, and that neurotransmitters can influence the activities of the immune system. In fact, nerve fibers physically link the nervous system and the immune system and there is a constant traffic of information that goes back and forth between the brain and the immune system.

The sympathetic division of the nervous system is the part of the nervous system that reacts to stress. It is the “fight or flight” control center. The sympathetic division of the nervous system also regulates all aspects of immune function, and abnormal activity of the sympathetic nervous system contributes to the cause of conditions where a selection of humoral versus the cell-mediated response plays a role, including allergic reactions.

Spinal movement influences the sympathetic nervous system. Changes to the relative position or movement in the spine interfere with the sympathetic nervous system causing the release of stress hormones and altering immune cell function. The result is suppression of the cell-mediated immune response, and in its absence an increase of the humoral response.

Early stress and trauma is believed to play a profound role in the development of spinal dysfunction, or subluxation, causing immune imbalance. In his research, Gottfried Guttman M.D., found that spinal injury was present in more than 80% of the infants he examined shortly after birth, causing interference in sympathetic function. Tissue injury to the spine and surrounding soft tissue results in scar tissue deposition in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. This leads to decreased motion in the joints and surrounding tissues. Neurologic changes accompany the spinal insult. This leads to chemical changes and a general shift in the body to the stress response or the “fight or flight” response. Subluxation in the infant and child has been associated with stress experienced at birth, particularly as the result of interventions, and early falls or other traumas.

Restoring proper function to the spine through chiropractic adjustments removes the interference in the nervous system shifting the body away from the sympathetic “alarm” response allowing the immune system to regain equilibrium and reducing hypersensitive reactions. In one study, 81 children under chiropractic care took part in a self-reported asthma impairment study. The children were assessed before and two months after chiropractic care using an asthma impairment questionnaire. Significantly lower impairment rating scores (improvement) was reported for 90.1% of subjects 60 days after chiropractic care in comparison to their pre-chiropractic scores. In addition, 30.9% of the children decreased their dosage of medication by an average of 66.5% while under chiropractic care. Twenty-four of the patients who reported asthma attacks 30-days prior to the study had significantly decreased attacks by an average of 44.9%.

Our children are born with an immune system that is capable of operating against anything that threatens it. Our role as parents should be to support the natural responses of their body in every way that we can; in some cases, that means giving the body a chance to overcome an infection on its own with out antibiotics. In another case, it means providing the proper nutrients to restore inner balance. Most importantly, it means realizing that when a child’s nervous system has interference, the body still knows what it is supposed to do, but is simply unable to do it. Let’s start by removing the interference from the body and then getting out of its way—appreciating that the fever and congestion and vomiting are all part of the miracle that is our child’s immune system working properly, not a sign that their body is failing. The less we focus on the eradication of germs and the more emphasis we place on creating a strong, balanced body, free of subluxation, the better off our children will be.

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.

Mindful Eating

by Stephen Scott Cowan, MD – ICPA:eating

Eating right is certainly in the news these days. From fads like the South Beach Diet to the front-page image of the First Lady planting an organic vegetable garden on the White House lawn, Americans are beginning to pay closer attention to their eating habits. Staggering reports of the epidemic of obesity are flooding the scientific community and serve as fodder for TV shows like The Biggest Loser. One in five children in the U.S. are obese today…

Why We Eat

While choosing what we eat is certainly critical to our cognitive health, a truly holistic understanding of eating goes much further, considering how we eat, where we eat, when we eat and why we eat. So: Why do we eat?

I pose this question to children all the time, and they giggle and stumble around for answers like “we eat so we can grow.” But we are not just machines requiring the right set of nutrients as basic fuel to keep going. We are living organisms, not automobiles! In a recent workshop, I asked participants to describe the taste of a blueberry. No one could get far past the fact that they’re sweet and blue. While scientists might accurately analyze all the phyto-nutrients in a blueberry, this tells us very little about the actual experience of eating one.

Eating is a deeply personal encounter. It conveys something about ourselves at a particular moment in time. It feeds our memory and points directly to who we are, to our mood and temperament. Eating reflects our basic sanity because it is how we make contact with the world—how we exchange with the world. Our hunger to grow and know the world is not just physical, but intellectual and spiritual. Eating is how we become the world.

In Chinese medicine, the “spleen/stomach network” is considered central to our being. It corresponds to the ground we live on, the good earth, which supplies all that we need to grow. But the spleen is home to our thoughts, as well. We gather information from the world in all different forms. As we take it in, it gets sorted. Some is integrated into our being, and some is eliminated. This gathering, sorting, integrating and eliminating is a cognitive process. It represents how we learn. Our immune system (with which we learn to identify the world), digestive system (which tastes the world), and neurologic system (which perceives the world) are interconnected aspects of information processing. The body does not know these are separate systems. They only seem separate to us because there are immunologists, gastroenterologists and neurologists. As a field of medicine, the study of this cognitive network might be more accurately described as neuro-immuno-gastroenterology.

Industrially Fed, Spiritually Starved

If we take a minute to look at how we eat in America, we begin to see how it directly relates to the modern epidemics of childhood: obesity, allergies and ADHD. We eat as if we are in a race. This is the real purpose of “fast food.” It’s cheap and convenient, just like a roadside gas station is for your car. But, again, we are living organisms, not automobiles. The same kind of assembly-line mentality informs the way our children are force-fed information in school. We’ve been led to believe that education is a race, and that the fastest child is the smartest. But in my 22 years as a developmental pediatrician watching children grow, I’ve found that this simply isn’t true. Sometimes the smartest kid turns out to be the one who took her time digesting the world. The current trends in standardized education have left us with a system that treats children as if they are USDA Grade A meat. The education of our children must be more than simply passing inspection! What’s more, when we are not given the time to digest the material, whether it is food or academics, it stagnates.

Chinese medicine considers stagnation to be of grave significance. A healthy life is defined by the free flow of qi, that which animates our life. Stagnation represents the accumulation of “stuff” that drags health down. It’s as if the body recognizes the need to slow down in order to work on unfinished business, even if it results in a pathological condition. This feeling of stagnation is not satisfying, because things are simply not moving properly. The lack of movement is boring, and boredom leads to the need for distractions—so we try to spice up our lives. We try not to look at all that unfinished business accumulating within…which makes us agitated. We try to get things moving and shake up all that stagnation. This hyperactive state drives us to look for happiness somewhere else. TV ads capitalize on this, promising happiness with a Whopper or a Happy Meal. This leads to infatuations, bizarre cravings, impulsive eating and binge-buying. We feel like we deserve to be happy—we deserve that tub of ice cream, for having had to work under these conditions. And when we can’t have what we think we deserve, we become hostile: Don’t take a piece of my pie!

This state of agitation, distractibility and impulsivity defines Attention Deficit Disorder. The Chinese medicine classics say that accumulation causes an inflamed state, and this phlegm can “mist the mind.” We become confused, unable to think straight, and find it difficult to concentrate on one thing for very long. And so we take stimulants to try to wake ourselves up.

Likewise, the same vicious cycle leads to the accumulation of phlegm in our bodies; our neuro-immunodigestive system becomes confused, hostile and inflamed. In my practice, I see a host of chronic health problems in children that can be traced back to the phlegm of stagnation: ear infections, asthma, obesity, colitis and autoimmune disorders. These manifestations of chronic inflammation did not exist to such a degree a century ago, or even 50 years ago. The inflamed state of autoimmunity is a spiritual crisis. When the mind-body remains in such a confused state, we no longer have time to recognize who we are. We are left with a Spiritual Deficit Disorder.

Taking Time

Correcting this vicious cycle begins at birth. I work with many mothers on that first day, counseling them about breastfeeding or bottle feeding. In that moment, there is a real opportunity to learn how to learn, how to digest the world calmly, attentively and with ease. Feeding a baby when she is crying is a common mistake. Moments of hunger are not a crime. Hunger is a way of waking up. We may naturally feel the urge to feed our child when she cries; feeding is a basic way we show our love. But it is vital to pause and consider the true reasons for eating. Babies feed much better when they are fully awake. They are less gassy and more likely to gain weight properly. They are actually learning to pay attention with their whole bodymind. This is a simple yet profound lesson for us all to live by.

When you select information, whether food or academic, as a conscious process, you are determining which aspects of the external environment you will allow inside your body to operate on an unconscious level. This is the meaning of “mindful eating.” We should take the lead from our babies. Whether we are stimulating our immune system, going to school, or sitting down at the dinner table as a family, taking time to digest is how we become truly sane in this world. Ultimately, time is the greatest alternative medicine. And taking time to digest the world is the ultimate spiritual practice.

Article originally posted at ICPA.org.