Monday, 20 June 2016

Commercial break post that became a furious rant

(this is the not-ranty part)

Remember last year when I had tinctures and other wild crafted, home made products for sale?

I am so NOT going to do that this year. (Although I do have a few things left over, if you want to know what's still available, write me)

It's not that it wasn't successful. It's not that I didn't kinda sorta enjoy certain aspects of it.

It's just that it's so. not. me.

The one way that this was the MOST successful is that I craftily got many of you to understand how much better the quality of home made, hand made herbal anything is compared to what Big Herb has on offer.

So much so that many of you have caught the garbling bug. You're writing to tell me what you are growing or gathering and what you're doing with it. In that sense I can say with a great deal of satisfaction and joy - Mission Accomplished!

The last thing I ever wanted to do was leap into the production/consumption game. In fact my aim is and always will be to awaken people from the trance that is consumerism especially when it comes to matters of health.

The passivity with which most people face their own health issues mystifies me.

In the food industry, we have the myth of the 'educated consumer', the one who reads labels. When I'm bored, I actually go trolling on the internet looking for people perpetuating that myth and holler at them in comments "real food doesn't have labels!"

RINGGGGG  RINGGGG - oh hang on, that will be my Dad calling, I'll be right back ..



If swearing makes you queasy, click away now. That call from my Dad is a perfect example of what I was going to write about today .. but it raised the level of my ire into the unreasonable.

You know, I am not allopathic medicine's greatest fan, but you know who really pisses me off? Fucking naturopaths.

My Dad's wife was recently diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer. It's over, she knows it. They (the allopathic docs who had her on so many drugs for other things that changes in lifestyle & diet could have fixed years ago, and drugs for the side effects of the first drugs, 16 prescriptions every day for years that probably gave her the pancreatic cancer in the first place but that's another fucking story) have told her she could try chemo, but they are also honest enough to say the chances of it helping are almost zero, and it would be more likely to just make her last days worse. Good for them, points for honesty. Next step, keep her comfortable.

Her son, however, isn't taking the news too well (understandably) and he took her to a 'naturopath' last week. This clinic suggests a 3 month program of cleanses, enemas and IV infusions to the tune of .. wait for it .. $10,000!

She gave the naturopath her medical history (dismal, life long issues on multiple levels). She told them her diagnoses and the prognosis from the real doctors. But this man ("he's a doctor, you know, it says so right on the sign" says my father "and he's a very nice man")  sat there bold faced telling her she 'needed' these cleanses and IV infusions (of which he didn't divulge the ingredients, of course). That although there were no guarantees it would cure her, she still 'needed' them. He did no exam, took no vital signs, did no bloodwork. Just spouted his spiel like any used car salesman would.

Fucking quacks. No moral centre there at all.

And it makes me angry. These quacks make shit tons of money off frightened ill people who come to them because the allopaths can't help. It makes me angry that this is now mainstream Canada's idea of "natural medicine". In some provinces "board certified" naturopaths are allowed to use the title of Dr., adding to that authoritative allure that so many people crave. But there is nothing natural or medicinal about anything they do.

To my mind, this is worse than Big Pharm. Insult to injury.

At least allopathic medicine tests its drugs and procedures. Granted, likely not well enough, granted, likely the drug companies are fudging the results, too, and I would be remiss not to mention one of my 'favourite' aspects of Big Pharm, that most drugs are tested on men, ignoring the inconvenient fact that women have completely different physiologies and reactions to said drugs .. and other utter bullshit. At least they try. They're terribly misguided, but they try. Most of them.

And at least traditional herbal medicine - folk medicine, granny medicine - has hundreds of years, of well, traditional use. Our ancestors were smart enough to know that if something isn't working you stop using it, they weren't fools.

But naturopathic medicine's methods do not come under science's scrutiny to any great degree, nor do they have the benefit of long traditional use that would allow for the eventual discovery of errors. No, their patients are to put it kindly guinea pigs. To be more accurate, they are marks. No guarantees indeed! It's the goddamn wild west out there.

Consumerism. This is what consumerism run amok gets us.

I remember in high school when they taught us "caveat emptor", buyer beware. "Educate yourself before you buy" said Mrs Brown the teacher, "no matter how small or how large the purchase, you must know what you are getting into.".

Yet who does that any more, especially in health care? Who makes the effort to investigate the treatments they're about to undergo? Who assesses the pro's and cons for themselves? Who even understands, truly, the ingredient list on that organic granola bar?

Yes, it's hard. You have to use your brain.

This is why I want people to wake up from the trance. I want them to use their brains, to learn what's what about their own bodies so they can get and stay healthy. For me, the choice to use plants as my medicine means I have to understand the several layers of study involved and I have to understand my own unique physiology. It's not rocket science but it requires thought.

Use it or lose it. That applies to our intellects as much as our muscles. It applies to our personal power, too. There is little personal power in consumerism.

For the record, Dad's wife politely declined to work with the naturopath. Even had it been affordable, she doubted that coffee enemas were something she wanted to spend the last months of her life indulging in.

Smart lady.


  1. You have a very valid point that drugs are tested mostly on men. Healthy young men. There's also racial differences in response to drugs so testing them on young white guys may mean the same drug isn't appropriate for blacks. And even less appropriate for black women.

    That naturopath is truly like the snake oil salesmen of the wild wild west. But what is even more frightening is despite so much research done during the first half of the 20th century, the ignorance of the population as to what enhances health or mitigates suffering has been lost over the course of only 1 or 2 generations. It's going to get worse though. Everywhere people are looking at their iPhones and not looking at life.

  2. Consumerism. Yep. Like my high school math teacher used to say, "Bend your head down here. Bend your head down here." [Bonk. She'd bonk our heads with her pencil when we weren't using our heads.]

    I'm sorry about your Dad's wife.


    1. A history teacher of mine used to say "give your head a shake, your brains are stuck.

      Thanks. She's actually not 'feeling' too bad right now. But it really sucks.

  3. The quickest way to get a medical doctor degree is to get a PhD is anything, then become a naturopath. This way you can be Dr. Rhubarb, N.D.

    I really do not understand the whole Naturopath thing. They seem to me to be people who want to practice medicine outside the realm of attending medical school, and rely on their interpretation of natural healing methods as sold in Wal-Mart.

    There might be some good ones, but who knows. Most are snake oil salesmen I am afraid. From Wiki (Naturopathy), how it works:

    Naturopathic doctors are licensed in 17 US states and 5 Canadian provinces.[50] In jurisdictions where naturopathic doctor (ND or NMD) or a similar term is a protected designation, naturopathic doctors must pass the Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Examinations (NPLEX) administered by the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE)[51] after graduating from a college accredited by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (CNME).[39] Very little is known about the NPLEX, and it has been called a mystery by those outside the naturopathic profession.[4][52]

    Naturopathic doctors are not eligible for medical residencies, which are available exclusively for medical doctors and doctors of osteopathic medicine. There are limited post-graduate "residency" positions available to naturopathic doctors offered through naturopathic schools and naturopathic clinics approved by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education.[53] Most naturopathic doctors do not complete such a residency,[40] and naturopathic doctors are not mandated to complete one for licensure,[15] except in the state of Utah.[54] Continuing education in naturopathic modalities for health care professionals varies greatly.[41]

    1. Thankyou Tim.

      In Canada, it's even easier I'm afraid. Here, from the one school churning them out in the Great White North:

      "To be considered for admission to the naturopathic program, applicants must have completed a three- or four-year bachelor's degree in any discipline at an accredited institution."

      Which includes:

      Required courses Credit hours Units Requirements
      General Biology 6 1.0
      May be fulfilled either by a one-year biology course or by two semesters of courses such as anatomy, botany, cell biology, endocrinology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, or zoology.
      Example: Athabasca University - BIOL204-Principles of Biology I and BIOL205-Principles of Biology II
      Physiology 6 1.0
      May be fulfilled either by a one-year physiology course or a one-year anatomy and physiology course.
      Example: McMaster University - HTH SCI 2F03-Human Physiology and Anatomy I and HTH SCI 2FF3-Human Physiology and Anatomy II
      Organic Chemistry
      (with lab) 3 0.5
      Course must cover topics such as chemical reactivity, reaction pathways, stereochemistry, alcohols, acetones, aldehydes, carboxylic acids, and amines. A lab component is required.
      Example: McGill University - CHEM212-Intro to Organic Chemistry
      Psychology 3 0.5
      May be fulfilled either by one semester of introductory psychology, health psychology, developmental psychology, or other similar courses.
      Example: University of Toronto - PSY100Y-Introductory Psychology or Athabasca University - PSYC290-General Psychology
      Humanities elective 6 1.0
      Acceptable courses include, but are not limited to: English, sociology, psychology, history, women's studies, religious studies, etc. Must include an essay-writing component. Foreign language courses are not accepted towards the humanities prerequisite.
      Example: Lakehead University - Nursing 2500-Concepts of Health
      Credit will not be given for the completion of prerequisites unless a grade of C-minus (60 per cent) or better is earned.

  4. In my past and present research on LDN, I came across pancreatic cancer.
    There is more. My heart goes out to you. It's a wild and bumpy ride and I have been on it for a very long time.

    1. Interesting study Nav.

      Yeah, they're in for a rough ride. I can only hope she has competent pain management.

  5. I, too, am sorry about your mother-in-law and your Dad. So grateful that natururpathic nut job won't be getting their money or putting his hands on her! Thanks to you for re-awakening that part of me that was so fervently tuned into my body so long ago. That awareness speaks to me now everyday about how to deal with my little aches, pains and boo-boos! Rant away, doll, rant away!

    1. Thanks Linda. You're an inspiration ;-)

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