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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Naturopathic News
Issue #55 - April 2007

Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #55. It's my mission to help you find natural solutions to health problems. This newsletter is one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the better able you will be to take control of your health. If you would like to stop receiving my newsletter send me an email and let me know. If you have a friend or family member who you think would appreciate the information provided, send me their email address.

You probably noticed that this month's newsletter is later than normal. Usually you will find it in your InBox by the middle of the month. Every April for the past 9 years I've attended the annual NCH conference, the largest homeopathic conference in the US. Last year it became the joint homeopathic conference of the major professional associations-including the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians. This year the conference was held in Denver, CO. Typically, wherever it is, I end up spending almost all of my time inside a conference hall. This time, combining work with a mini vacation I spent 3 days with my oldest son Skylar (relocated to Boulder for graduate school). We visited our old Ft. Collins haunts and biked and hiked up to 8100 feet. That's why my forearms are peeling and the newsletter is coming out now.



WEBSITE SERVICES
Since October 2006, my website www.foroptimalhealth.com is up and running. Here are some pages that are of particular interest:

Store: There are 156 products from Emerson listed on this page. If yours isn't one of them please let me know and I will add it so you can order online. This is particularly convenient after hours or on the weekend. Of course, you can always order by phone from Emerson at 800-654-4432.

Newsletter:http://www.foroptimalhealth.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=1&Itemid=4
Find all 55 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News".

Optimal Health Points:http://www.foroptimalhealth.com
This is my blog that I update 2-3 times per week. Here you'll find breaking health news or stories that piqued my interest.


VITAMIN C                                                                                                          Many of you have used the Vitamin C protocol when you have gotten sick with great success. You may have noticed a recent change in what Vitamin C products I recommend. Previously, Alacer brand Vitamin C Super Gram ll was my favorite even though it was more expensive. The tablets were easy to swallow, they were 1000 mg. each, well tolerated, and contained a good amount of bioflavonoids. This all changed recently when one of my patients told me that Super Gram ll had changed its potency. Now each tablet is only 500 mg. Vitamin C. Meaning you have to take twice as many tablets to reach the same amount. It is still a good product but just not cost effective. So, from your health food store you can get RainbowLite Ultra Gram C, or their own brand if it matches the above requirements. From Emerson Ascorbplex is still a good one to use.


STEAM VALLEY FIBER FARM TOUR
It's time for our annual Spring farm tour. Come see the unusual breeds of sheep and goats raised at Steam Valley Fiber Farm. Enjoy the Angora Goat kids, Nubian Goat kids and Border Leicester lambs at play. Watch Spinning and Weaving Demonstrations. Regional Fiber Artists, Phylleri Ball and Dianna Smith will have hand dyed yarn, wool, Mohair, spinning supplies, handwoven, knitted and felted items for sale.

For more information call Phylleri Ball at 570-998-2221 or 570-998-8197. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it   Web: http://www.steamvalleyfiber.com

When: Saturday, May 5 from 10am-3pm   Free                               
Where
: Steam Valley Fiber Farm is located 22 miles north of Williamsport and 28 miles south of Mansfield, off Hwy 15. Take Hwy 15 north 6.5 miles past the Trout Run exit to the second Steam Valley Road sign. Turn right and immediately bear right again. Go 1/2 mile to 2304 Steam Valley Road.
                                                                         

                                    
HOMEOPATHY AND CHILDREN WITH ADHD                         Increasingly parents turn to homeopathy for treatment of their hyperactive child. This study was designed to obtain scientific evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy in ADHD. A total of 83 children aged 6-16 years, diagnosed with ADHD using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV criteria, were recruited.

The study involved three phases. First the children were treated with a constitutional homeopathic medicine individualized to their case. Only the children (62 of the 83) who improved by at least 50 percent on an ADHD rating scale were included in the second phase of the study, a crossover trial with a placebo group. Following that crossover phase, the children were then treated again with their homeopathic medicine in an open label phase. The primary device for measuring improvement was the Conners Global Index (CGI), a 10-item rating scale containing the most important ADHD symptoms (temper outbursts, excitability, impulsivity, overactivity, crying often, inattentive, fidgeting, disturbing other children, easily frustrated, failure to finish things, quickly changing moods). Rating: 0= never, 1= occasionally, 2= often, 3= very often. Therefore, the higher the score the more prominent and severe the symptoms.   

Other assessment instruments included standardized achievement and intelligence tests. The responders were split into two groups and received either a homeopathic remedy for 6 weeks followed by placebo for 6 weeks (arm A), or vice-versa (arm B). At the beginning of the trial and after each crossover period, parents reported the CGI and patients underwent neuropsychological testing. The CGI rating was evaluated again at the end of each crossover period and twice in long-term follow-up. At entry to the crossover trial, cognitive performance such as visual global perception, impulsivity and divided attention, had improved significantly under open label treatment-with a less than 1 in 10,000 chance that this was improvement was just chance.                                               

Results showed that children did not improve while taking placebo, but continued to improve while taking the homeopathic medicine during the blinded phase of the trial and in the post-crossover phase. The median Conners rating for ADHD symptoms dropped from 19 at the start of treatment to a median of 8 within 6 weeks after the crossover phase of the trial. During the blinded trial the children receiving placebo had a high CGI rating of 12 compared to the homeopathic group with a rating of 9. After all children were returned to their homeopathic medicine, both groups returned to the low symptom level they had achieved before the crossover phase (median of 8). The authors formed a definitive conclusion from this study-that they had strong scientific evidence of the effectiveness of homeopathy in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, particularly in the areas of behavioral and cognitive functions.

"Homeopathic treatment of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled crossover trial", European Journal of Pediatrics, July 27, 2005.                                                                                                                            DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: The sheer number of children put on drugs for attention problems is shocking, and school authorities pressure parents to use dangerous stimulant medications and antidepressants to keep children behaving in specific desirable patterns in the classroom. Homeopathy has been scientifically demonstrated to be an effective approach. Why not consider it?

                                                                                                                                                                               FOOD LABELS--HIDDEN FOOD IRRADIATION                            The FDA has proposed relaxing its rules on labeling of irradiated foods; it may allow some irradiated products to be labeled "pasteurized." The new rules would require companies to label irradiated food only if the irradiation causes a 'material change' to the product, such as changes to the smell, texture, taste, or shelf life of a food.Until now pasteurization has been defined as heating a product to a high temperature and then cooling it rapidly. The FDA proposed letting companies use the term "pasteurized" to describe irradiated foods if the radiation kills germs as well as the pasteurization process does. The FDA itself has acknowledged that the proposed change could confuse consumers.                         DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: From the beginning food irradiation has been a method for companies to get rid of nuclear power plant waste. Don't be fooled by the illusion that this is some beneficent public health gesture. Now they want to nuke food and disguise it with a safer sounding label-pasteurization. There would be no indication that the food had been exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation. 

Some of the health problems occurring in animals that eat irradiated food include chromosomal abnormalities, premature death, reproductive disorders, liver damage, and nutritional deficiencies. Similar to antibiotic use, food irradiation creates 'radiation resistant' organisms-pathogens that are hard to kill. Even the FDA acknowledges that the safety research is inadequate. Benzene one of the 'radiolytic products' formed during irradiation is a carcinogen. In one beef irradiation sample they found seven more times the benzene, than in the original beef organic sample.

Some of the vitamins and minerals destroyed in the irradiation process include vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, C, E, and K. Amino acids and essential fatty acids may also be affected. There is up to a 20-80% loss of these essential vitamins and minerals.

Watch out if you're an almond fan. California almonds from here on out will either be 'pasteurized' (irradiated?) or sterilizing by propylene oxide fumigation. Propylene oxide is a genotoxic chemical and is listed as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency on Cancer Research. Even raw organic almonds will have to go through a steam treatment process.


ORGANIC ON TOP AGAIN
An international team of researchers has published further evidence in support of the health benefits of organic fruit and vegetables. They found that organic carrots, apples and peaches contained higher levels of vitamin C and flavonoids, compounds that protect against heart attacks and cancer.

On April 4 US researchers revealed that organic kiwi fruit have significantly more vitamin C and polyphenols - linked to reduced cholesterol, improved circulation and lower cancer risks - than non-organic produce.

Dr Kirsten Brandt of Newcastle University, who led a European Union-funded study, said: "If you eat 400g (14oz) of fruit and vegetables a day you would get 20 per cent more nutrients in organic food."

DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Any study that has looked at the nutritional composition of organically grown food compared to commercial food has found that organic has a higher nutrient content. In this instance the 20% difference in nutrients more than compensates for any cost difference.


ANTIDEPRESSANTS INCREASE FRACTURES AND FALLS RISK
Adults ages 50 and older who use Prozac and other drugs in its class have double the risk of falls and fractures, according to a March 2007 study reported in the "Archives of Internal Medicine".

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants, are often used to treat depression in seniors. They include escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa), fluvoxamine maleate (Luvox), and dapoxetine.

"Recent research reveals a potentially important role for serotonin in bone physiology," said David Goltzman, MD, of the Bone and Calcium Research Laboratories at Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, and the study's senior author. "Given the high prevalence of SSRI use and the frequent occurrence of fragility fractures in the elderly population, we thought it was important to determine if daily SSRI use increases the risk of fracture."

Skeletons become more fragile with age and that increases the risk of breaking a bone if we fall down. Falls account for 90% of hip fractures. Approximately one-third of people 65 or over fall at least once a year. Whether or not a fracture occurs depends on bone strength and the impact from the fall. Bone strength is directly related to mineral content, with fracture risk increasing as bone mineral density decreases.

This study monitored 5,008 community-dwelling adults 50 years and older, 137 (2.7%) of whom used SSRIs daily and 609 (12.2%) of whom reported depression symptoms. Daily SSRI use was associated with a two-fold increased risk of fragility fractures. Higher doses of SSRIs were associated with higher risk of fractures. Daily SSRI use was also associated with a doubled risk of falling, lower bone mineral density at the hip, and a trend toward lower bone mineral density at the spine.

Depression affects approximately 10% of people making doctor visits each year in the United States. The use of SSRIs is widespread and growing. The combined sale of these drugs in the United States was more than $10.9 billion in 2004.

"Elderly persons are at increased risk of developing osteoporosis and depression," Dr. Goltzman said. "Daily SSRI use in this population to treat depression may increase the risk of subsequent fracture."
Arch Intern Med 2007;167:188-94

DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Again we have a case of drugs with severe side effects being used when there are superb traditional treatment options available. First on my list is homeopathic medicine. My colleague Dr. Susan Beal informs me that Cranial Sacral Therapy is effective. Supplemental Vitamin D3 not only increases bone density it is indicated for depression. Weight bearing exercise that raises the heart rate, for a minimum of 3 hours per week, will also help both.


EAT VEGGIES FOR BRAIN POWER
If you want to keep your brain healthy and young eat your vegetables. A six-year study of almost 2,000 Chicago-area seniors showed that older people who ate more than two servings of vegetables each day were mentally sharper than those who ate few or no vegetables.

Study participants were given mental function tests three times over about six years, including measures of short-term memory and delayed memory, such as recall of story details or symbols on flashcards. Those who ate more vegetable showed about 40% less mental decline, and their test results were those that would be expected of people about five years younger.
Neurology October 24, 2006; 67(8): 1370-1376

DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Green leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, spinach, etc., seemed to be the most beneficial. These foods contain many important nutrients-B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants-that are responsible for the observed effect.


CHILDHOOD TRAUMA AND CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME
An unhappy childhood may be linked to severe fatigue and chronic aches in adulthood. A recent study revealed people who experienced emotional pain and trauma early in their lives are at greater risk of suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a health condition that affects between 400,000 and 900,000 adults in the United States. Chronic fatigue syndrome is defined as an unexplained continuous or recurring fatigue that may be accompanied by muscle pain, memory loss, and headaches.

Researchers in Wichita, Kan. administered a questionnaire measuring childhood trauma disorders to CFS patients and individuals without it. CFS-diagnosed adults reported greater trauma incidence than those without the syndrome. Victims of childhood sexual abuse and emotional neglect had a stronger link with CFS. In addition, individuals with CFS were more likely to show symptoms of depression and other psychiatric disorders.
Archives of General Psychiatry/,2006;63:1258-1266:1267-1272

DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: When I first saw this study it confirmed my understanding of the experience of many of my patients. Which is that events that occurred in the past can have a significant impact on a person's current state of health. This is the case even if those past events occurred 30, 40, or more years ago. This may seem common-sensical on reading but sometimes my patients are surprised or upset that this is the case.


ANTIBIOTIC USE INCREASES ILLNESS RISK                               In acne patients, antibiotic use doubled odds for upper respiratory tract infection. Using antibiotics for more than six weeks to treat acne more than doubles than risk of developing an upper respiratory tract infection, a new study finds. The findings give insight into the dangers of long-term antibiotic use in raising risks for infection with organisms resistant to current drugs, say researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Long-term antibiotic use is standard therapy for patients with acne, with the most common drugs used including the tetracycline family of antibiotics and clindamycin.

Reporting in the September 2005 issue of the Archives of Dermatology, the U. Penn team studied more than 118,000 patients with acne and found that those treated with topical or oral antibiotics for more than six weeks were more than twice as likely to suffer an upper respiratory tract infection within a year, compared to people with acne who didn't receive antibiotic treatment. It is thought that the activity of drug-resistant bacteria in the upper respiratory tract might encourage the "infectivity" of viruses, increasing the risk for these illnesses in long-term antibiotic users.
DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: One more category of common diagnoses treated inappropriately with antibiotics down the drain. Acne joins the list of ear infections, sinus infections, and chronic bronchitis for inappropriate antibiotic treatment. Besides the very serious public health issue of creating antibiotic resistant organisms, using antibiotics for acne increases the risk of infection. Diet, nutrition, and homeopathy will not raise your risk of infection.


EMERSON ECOLOGICS
I am often asked what supplements I recommend. Many of you have been surprised to discover that I favor food over pills; lifestyle changes over fads. I have been working with nutrition for 30 years, herbs for over 20 years. Where and when appropriate I recommend them to my patients. I strive to act from knowledge, experience, and research.

Emerson Ecologics (800-654-4432) carries almost all of the nutritional supplements and botanical extracts that I think are useful. Their customer service is excellent and their delivery is reliable (often only 2-3 days to this region). It's a great way to get physician quality products at reasonable prices.

To offset the cost of shipping, reference my name when you establish your account and receive a 10% discount on every order. If you have any questions about these items feel free to email me.

That's it for this issue of Naturopathic News. If you've thought a bit extra or learned something new, then I achieved my goal. As usual, if you have questions or concerns brought up by these subjects, let me know.

Gregory Pais, ND, DHANP


 
Issue #54 - March 2007

Welcome to this issue of Naturopathic News, issue #54. It's my mission to help you find natural solutions to health problems. This newsletter is one way to do that. The more educated you are about your health options the better able you will be to take control of your health. If you would like to stop receiving my newsletter send me an email and let me know. If you have a friend or family member who you think would appreciate the information provided, send me their email address.


WEBSITE SERVICES
As of Friday October 6, 2006, my website www.foroptimalhealth.com, is up and running.
 
Here are some pages that are of particular interest:

Store: There are 142 products from Emerson listed on this page. If yours isn't one of them please let me know and I will add it so you can order online. This is particularly convenient after hours or on the weekend. Of course, you can always order by phone from Emerson at 800-654-4432.

Newsletter: http://www.foroptimalhealth.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=1&Itemid=4
Here you will find all 54 issues of my health newsletter, "Naturopathic News".

Optimal Health Points: http://www.foroptimalhealth.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogsection&id=3&Itemid=8
This is my blog that I update 2-3 times per week. Here you'll find breaking health news or stories that piqued my interest.


HOMEOPATHY AND THE RETURN OF SYMPTOMS
I thought it would be useful to cover something that many homeopathic patients experience. That is, the return of a previously experienced symptom.

Why is this topic important? If you have a symptom doesn't that mean you are sicker than before? Not necessarily. In 1828, in Samuel Hahnemann's first edition of  "The Chronic Diseases", he noticed that the cure of symptoms would lead backwards to an old suppressed eruption. This held true as long as the person's vitality was strong enough. Once the old symptom had come and gone, the patient was well on their way to being cured.


In Hahnemann's day skin lesions and syphilis were treated with suppressive therapies-chemical substances, Mercury derivatives, etc. So often, when an old symptom returned during his homeopathic treatment, it was a skin symptom. This holds true in my practice today. Many of my patients have had an occurrence of eczema treated by cortisone, a yeast infection suppressed by topical treatments, a bout of acne covered up by antibiotics, or other similar experiences. While under homeopathic care these symptoms return once again, in modified form.

What these situations have in common is the externalization of an interior imbalance. The Vital Force creates symptoms in response to this imbalance. Usually these symptoms are on the surface or in superficial areas, where symptoms, though uncomfortable, will not cause deep harm to the organism. If these symptoms are covered up and suppressed by treatments that do not address their cause, then deeper problems will develop. Though the shape of these symptoms has now changed-it was eczema, now it's asthma-the energy driving the symptoms, the cause, has not. With homeopathic treatment, the organism has a chance to heal the old symptom, as the cause is being dealt with.

At your next follow-up, when I ask you if old symptoms have returned, pay closer attention to what has transpired. It might be an old physical injury that acted up; maybe you experienced some indigestion like you used to when you worked that stressful job; perhaps your menstrual cycle symptoms were just like they were when you were a teen. These connections, these related aspects of your health, may be the best indicator as to what is happening. So, if I say, "that's promising" or "it's a good sign" you'll know that I'm hoping that things are progressing in the direction of cure.



FOOD LABELS-BEEF Part 4
 "Discover How Your Beef Is Really Raised", by Michael Pollan, New York Times, March 31, 2002. This is the last part of Michael Pollan's article on how beef is raised. If you missed Parts 1, 2, & 3 you'll find them in Naturopathic News 50, #51 and #52 respectively, on my website http://www.foroptimalhealth.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=58&Itemid=4

What I know about what happens on the far side of the blue door comes mostly from Temple Grandin, who has been on the other side and, in fact, helped to design it. Grandin, an assistant professor of animal science at Colorado State, is one of the most influential people in the United States cattle industry.

She has devoted herself to making cattle slaughter less stressful and therefore more humane by designing an ingenious series of cattle restraints, chutes, ramps and stunning systems. Grandin is autistic; a condition she says has allowed her to see the world from the cow's point of view.

The industry has embraced Grandin's work because animals under stress are not only more difficult to handle but also less valuable: panicked cows produce a surge of adrenaline that turns their meat dark and unappetizing. ''Dark cutters,'' as they're called, sell at a deep discount.

Grandin designed the double-rail conveyor system in use at the National Beef plant; she has also audited the plant's killing process for McDonald's.

Stories about cattle ''waking up'' after stunning only to be skinned alive prompted McDonald's to audit its suppliers in a program that is credited with substantial improvements since its inception in 1999. Grandin says that in cattle slaughter ''there is the pre-McDonald's era and the post-McDonald's era -- it's night and day.''

Grandin recently described to me what will happen to No. 534 after he passes through the blue door. ''The animal goes into the chute single file,'' she began. ''The sides are high enough so all he sees is the butt of the animal in front of him. As he walks through the chute, he passes over a metal bar, with his feet on either side. While he's straddling the bar, the ramp begins to decline at a 25-degree angle, and before he knows it, his feet are off the ground and he's being carried along on a conveyor belt. We put in a false floor so he can't look down and see he's off the ground. That would panic him.''

Listening to Grandin's rather clinical account, I couldn't help wondering what No. 534 would be feeling as he approached his end. Would he have any inkling -- a scent of blood, a sound of terror from up the line -- that this was no ordinary day?

Grandin anticipated my question: ''Does the animal know it's going to get slaughtered? I used to wonder that. So I watched them, going into the squeeze chute on the feedlot, getting their shots and going up the ramp at a slaughter plant. No difference. If they knew they were going to die, you'd see much more agitated behavior.

''Anyway, the conveyor is moving along at roughly the speed of a moving sidewalk. On a catwalk above stands the stunner. The stunner has a pneumatic-powered 'gun' that fires a steel bolt about seven inches long and the diameter of a fat pencil. He leans over and puts it smack in the middle of the forehead. When it's done correctly, it will kill the animal on the first shot.''

For a plant to pass a McDonald's audit, the stunner needs to render animals ''insensible'' on the first shot 95 percent of the time. A second shot is allowed, but should that one fail, the plant flunks.

At the line speeds at which meatpacking plants in the United States operate -- 390 animals are slaughtered every hour at National, which is not unusual -- mistakes would seem inevitable, but Grandin insists that only rarely does the process break down.

''After the animal is shot while he's riding along, a worker wraps a chain around his foot and hooks it to an overhead trolley. Hanging upside down by one leg, he's carried by the trolley into the bleeding area, where the bleeder cuts his throat.

Animal rights people say they're cutting live animals, but that's because there's a lot of reflex kicking.'' This is one of the reasons a job at a slaughter plant is the most dangerous in America. ''What I look for is, Is the head dead? It should be flopping like a rag, with the tongue hanging out. He'd better not be trying to hold it up -- then you've got a live one on the rail.'' Just in case, Grandin said, ''they have another hand stunner in the bleed area.''
Much of what happens next -- the de-hiding of the animal, the tying off of its rectum before evisceration -- is designed to keep the animal's feces from coming into contact with its meat. This is by no means easy to do, not when the animals enter the kill floor smeared with manure and 390 of them are eviscerated every hour.

(Partly for this reason, European plants operate at much slower line speeds.) But since that manure is apt to contain lethal pathogens like E. coli 0157, and since the process of grinding together hamburger from hundreds of different carcasses can easily spread those pathogens across millions of burgers, packing plants now spend millions on ''food safety'' -- which is to say, on the problem of manure in meat.

Most of these efforts are reactive: it's accepted that the animals will enter the kill floor caked with feedlot manure that has been rendered lethal by the feedlot diet.

Rather than try to alter that diet or keep the animals from living in their waste or slow the line speed -- all changes regarded as impractical -- the industry focuses on disinfecting the manure that will inevitably find its way into the meat. This is the purpose of irradiation (which the industry prefers to call ''cold pasteurization''). It is also the reason that carcasses pass through a hot steam cabinet and get sprayed with an antimicrobial solution before being hung in the cooler at the National Beef plant.

It wasn't until after the carcasses emerged from the cooler, 36 hours later, that I was allowed to catch up with them, in the grading room. I entered a huge arctic space resembling a monstrous dry cleaner's, with a seemingly endless overhead track conveying thousands of red-and-white carcasses.

I quickly learned that you had to move smartly through this room or else be tackled by a 350-pound side of beef. The carcasses felt cool to the touch, no longer animals but meat.
Two by two, the sides of beef traveled swiftly down the rails, six pairs every minute, to a station where two workers -- one wielding a small power saw, the other a long knife -- made a single six-inch cut between the 12th and 13th ribs, opening a window on the meat inside.

The carcasses continued on to another station, where a U.S.D.A. inspector holding a round blue stamp glanced at the exposed rib eye and stamped the carcass's creamy white fat once, twice or -- very rarely -- three times: select, choice, prime.

For the Blair brothers, and for me, this is the moment of truth, for that stamp will determine exactly how much the packing plant will pay for each animal and whether the 14 months of effort and expense will yield a profit.
 
Unless the cattle market collapses between now and June (always a worry these days), I stand to make a modest profit on No. 534. In February, the feedlot took a sonogram of his rib eye and ran the data through a computer program.

The projections are encouraging: a live slaughter weight of 1,250, a carcass weight of 787 pounds and a grade at the upper end of choice, making him eligible to be sold at a premium as Certified Angus Beef. Based on the June futures price, No. 534 should be worth $944. (Should he grade prime, that would add another $75.)

I paid $598 for No. 534 in November; his living expenses since then come to $61 on the ranch and $258 for 160 days at the feedlot (including implant), for a total investment of $917, leaving a profit of $27. It's a razor-thin margin, and it could easily vanish should the price of corn rise or No. 534 fail to make the predicted weight or grade -- say, if he gets sick and goes off his feed.

Without the corn, without the antibiotics, without the hormone implant, my brief career as a cattleman would end in failure.

The Blairs and I are doing better than most. According to Cattle-Fax, a market-research firm, the return on an animal coming out of a feedlot has averaged just $3 per head over the last 20 years.

''Some pens you make money, some pens you lose,'' Rich Blair said when I called to commiserate. ''You try to average it out over time, limit the losses and hopefully make a little profit.'' He reminded me that a lot of ranchers are in the business ''for emotional reasons -- you can't be in it just for the money.''

Now you tell me.
The manager of the packing plant has offered to pull a box of steaks from No. 534 before his carcass disappears into the trackless stream of commodity beef fanning out to America's supermarkets and restaurants this June.

From what I can see, the Blair brothers, with the help of Poky Feeders, are producing meat as good as any you can find in an American supermarket. And yet there's no reason to think this steak will taste any different from the other high-end industrial meat I've ever eaten.

While waiting for my box of meat to arrive from Kansas, I've explored some alternatives to the industrial product. Nowadays you can find hormone- and antibiotic-free beef as well as organic beef, fed only grain grown without chemicals.

This meat, which is often quite good, is typically produced using more grass and less grain (and so makes for healthier animals). Yet it doesn't fundamentally challenge the corn-feedlot system, and I'm not sure that an ''organic feedlot'' isn't, ecologically speaking, an oxymoron. What I really wanted to taste is the sort of preindustrial beef my grandparents ate -- from animals that have lived most of their full-length lives on grass.

Eventually I found a farmer in the Hudson Valley who sold me a quarter of a grass-fed Angus steer that is now occupying most of my freezer. I also found ranchers selling grass-fed beef on the Web.

I discovered that grass-fed meat is more expensive than supermarket beef. Whatever else you can say about industrial beef, it is remarkably cheap, and any argument for changing the system runs smack into the industry's populist arguments.

Put the animals back on grass, it is said, and prices will soar; it takes too long to raise beef on grass, and there's not enough grass to raise them on, since the Western rangelands aren't big enough to sustain America's 100 million head of cattle.

And besides, Americans have learned to love cornfed beef. Feedlot meat is also more consistent in both taste and supply and can be harvested 12 months a year. (Grass-fed cattle tend to be harvested in the fall, since they stop gaining weight over the winter, when the grasses go dormant.)

All of this is true. The economic logic behind the feedlot system is hard to refute. And yet so is the ecological logic behind a ruminant grazing on grass. Think what would happen if we restored a portion of the Corn Belt to the tall grass prairie it once was and grazed cattle on it.

No more petrochemical fertilizer, no more herbicide, no more nitrogen runoff. Yes, beef would probably be more expensive than it is now, but would that necessarily be a bad thing? Eating beef every day might not be such a smart idea anyway -- for our health, for the environment.

And how cheap, really, is cheap feedlot beef? Not cheap at all, when you add in the invisible costs: of antibiotic resistance, environmental degradation, heart disease, E. coli poisoning, corn subsidies, imported oil and so on. All these are costs that grass-fed beef does not incur.

So how does grass-fed beef taste?
Uneven, just as you might expect the meat of a nonindustrial animal to taste. One grass-fed tenderloin from Argentina that I sampled turned out to be the best steak I've ever eaten. But unless the meat is carefully aged, grass-fed beef can be tougher than feedlot beef -- not surprisingly, since a grazing animal, which moves around in search of its food, develops more muscle and less fat.

Yet even when the meat was tougher, its flavor, to my mind, was much more interesting. And specific, for the taste of every grass-fed animal is inflected by the place where it lived. Maybe it's just my imagination, but nowadays when I eat a feedlot steak, I can taste the corn and the fat, and I can see the view from No. 534's pen. I can't taste the oil, obviously, or the drugs, yet now I know they're there.
A considerably different picture comes to mind while chewing (and, O.K., chewing) a grass-fed steak: a picture of a cow outside in a pasture eating the grass that has eaten the sunlight.

Meat-eating may have become an act riddled with moral and ethical ambiguities, but eating a steak at the end of a short, primordial food chain comprising nothing more than ruminants and grass and light is something I'm happy to do and defend. We are what we eat, it is often said, but of course that's only part of the story. We are what, what we eat, eats too.
New York Times March 31, 2002

DR. PAIS'S COMMENTS: Actually, this is some information from Dr. Susan Beal about some great PA grass fed beef.
One group of farmers who produce grass fed/grass finished beef with whom I work is Hardwick Beef. www.hardwickbeef.com Their meat is half Devon, and is of exceptional taste and quality. The animals are never fed grain, no hormones, no antibiotic, and no chemicals.

They have been having meat from their carcasses analyzed at Susan Duckett's labs, and the results have been stellar. Omega 6:3 ratio that average 1.2:1, excellent levels of CLA and CLA precursors, high levels of Vitamin B and E and iron, tenderness scores that are indistinguishable from grain finished beef, etc.

They sell direct and also through retail outlets, and will ship meat mail order, too. They sell by the cut, by the bundle (a collection of a variety of cuts) and by the quarter, half and whole, too. The meat is USDA inspected, cryopacked in individual cuts, and shipped frozen. Depending on the cut and the volume of meat purchased, the meat averages between five and seven dollars a pound - exclusive of shipping - when it's purchased directly from Hardwick Beef.


HUMOR
Management Today magazine recently ran a "Dilbert Quotes" contest. They were looking for people to submit quotes from their real-life Dilbert-type managers. These were voted the top ten quotes from Dilbert managers in corporate America:

"As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday, and employees will receive their cards in two weeks." (This was the winning quote from Fred Dales, Microsoft Corp. in Redmond WA)

"What I need is an exact list of specific unknown problems we might encounter." (Lykes Lines Shipping)

"E-mail is not to be used to pass on information or data. It should be used only for company business." (Accounting manager, Electric Boat Company)

"This project is so important we can't let things that are more important interfere with it." (Advertising/Marketing manager, United Parcel Service)

"Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule." (Plant Manager, Delco Corporation)

"No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! We've been working on it for months. Now go act busy for a few weeks and I'll let you know when it's time to tell them." (R&D supervisor, Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing/3M Corp.)

"Teamwork is a lot of people doing what I say." (Marketing executive, Citrix Corporation)

My sister passed away and her funeral was scheduled for Monday. When I told my Boss, he said she died on purpose so that I would have to miss work on the busiest day of the year. He then asked if we could change her burial to Friday. He said, "That would be better for me." (Shipping executive, FTD Florists)

"We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees." (Switching supervisor, AT&T Long Lines Division)



EMERSON ECOLOGICS
I am often asked what supplements I recommend. Many of you have been surprised to discover that I favor food over pills; lifestyle changes over fads. I have been working with nutrition for 30 years, herbs for over 20 years. Where and when appropriate I recommend them to my patients. I strive to act from knowledge, experience, and research.

Emerson Ecologics (800-654-4432) carries almost all of the nutritional supplements and botanical extracts that I think are useful. Their customer service is excellent and their delivery is reliable (often only 2-3 days to this region). It's a great way to get physician quality products at reasonable prices.

To offset the cost of shipping, reference my name when you establish your account and receive a 10% discount on every order. If you have any questions about these items feel free to email me.

That's it for this issue of Naturopathic News. If you've thought a bit extra or learned something new, then I achieved my goal. As usual, if you have questions or concerns brought up by these subjects, let me know.

Gregory Pais, ND, DHANP

 
Issue #53 - February 2007
  1. WEBSITE SERVICES
  2. HOMEOPATHY: CADENCE AND RHYTHM
  3. 90% OF FLU SHOTS CONTAIN MERCURY
  4. ANTIBIOTICS USELESS FOR BRONCHITIS
  5. ORGANIC WARS: WAL-MART DOES IT AGAIN
  6. HUMOR: Why God Created Children (And In The Process Grandchildren)
  7. EMERSON ECOLOGICS
Read more...
 
Issue #52 - January 2007
  1. Web Services
  2. Homeopathic Pharmacy
  3. "Discover How Your Beef Is Really Raised" Part 3
  4. The "Dirty Dozen"
  5. Alzheimer's Disease and Ginkgo biloba
  6. Emerson Ecologics
Read more...
 
Issue #51 - December 2006
  1. Happy Holidays!
  2. Website Services
  3. UnderstandingHealth and Disease: Suppression
  4. Food Labels--Beef Part 2
  5. Wait and See for Ear Infections
  6. Emerson Ecologics
Read more...
 
Issue #50 - November 2006
  1. Website Services
  2. Food Labels: Beef Part 1
  3. Flu Vaccine is Useless
  4. Emerson Ecologics
Read more...
 
Issue #49 - October 2006
  1. WEBSITE SERVICES
  2. HOMEOPATHIC PHARMACY—WHAT DOES SUCCUSSION DO?

  3. FOOD LABELS—ORGANIC

  4. FDA: CONFLICT OF INTEREST
  5. CLONED FOOD

  6. HUMOR
  7. ASPIRIN AND ULCERS

  8. ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAP A WASH OUT

  9. ESTROGEN OFFERS LITTLE BENEFIT AFTER MENOPAUSE

  10. EMERSON ECOLOGICS
Read more...
 
Issue #48 - September 2006
  1. Website Opening
  2. "A Day in the Life" of a Homeopathic Case, Part 4 revisited
  3. Food labels:  Trans Fats
  4. New York City Bans Trans Fats
  5. Seven Up--100% Natural???
  6. Arcoxia Drug
  7. Coenzyme Q10 Protects Against Statin Drug Side Effects
  8. Emerson Ecologics
Read more...
 
Issue #47 - August 2006
  1. What Can Homeopathy Do? Part 3
  2. Soda Consumption Adds Extra Weight
  3. Lipitor Stroke Research Slanted
  4. Meditation Prevents Heart Disease
  5. Vaccines Added to Prepared Meats
  6. Avoid Stomach Cancer
  7. FDA Misleads on Deceptive Food Labeling
  8. Childhood Depression and Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids
  9. Humor
  10. EmersonEcologics
Read more...
 
Issue #46 - July 2006
  1. WHAT CAN HOMEOPATHY DO? Part 2
  2. HORMONE REPLACEMENT DOUBLES BREAST CANCER RISK
  3. PESTICIDES AND PARKINSON’S DISEASE
  4. YOGA IS A NATURAL PAINKILLER
  5. GOVERNMENT MAY FORCE ANTIDEPRESSANT USE ON SMALL CHILDREN
  6. USING TYLENOL CAN CAUSE LIVER DAMAGE
  7. MCDONALD'S ADMITS FRIES HAVE MORE TRANS FATS
  8. EMERSON ECOLOGICS
Read more...
 
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