How to Fast for Metabolic Fitness and Hormone Balance
In this interview, Dr. Mindy Pelz, author of “Fast Like a Girl,” reviews how time-restricted eating (TRE) can improve your health and balance your sex hormones. In general, I believe TRE is one of the most foundational strategies to stay healthy, but the devil’s in the details, and Pelz will tease out some of those […]
In this interview, Dr. Mindy Pelz, author of “Fast Like a Girl,” reviews how time-restricted eating (TRE) can improve your health and balance your sex hormones. In general, I believe TRE is one of the most foundational strategies to stay healthy, but the devil’s in the details, and Pelz will tease out some of those here.
Metabolic Health Is at an All-Time Low
The vast majority of people eat across 12 hours or more, which is a recipe for metabolic disaster. Health statistics bear this out, showing that 93.2% of Americans are metabolically unfit.1
In July 2022, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology2 posted an update on the metabolic fitness or flexibility of the American population. In 2016, 12.2% of Americans were considered metabolically fit.3 Two years later, in 2018, only 6.8% of U.S. adults had optimal cardiometabolic health.4 That was four years ago so, today, that ratio is probably even lower.
Metabolic fitness includes things like blood glucose and blood sugar, blood pressure and weight, and metabolic flexibility refers to your body’s ability to seamlessly transition between burning fat and carbohydrates as your primary fuel.
The take-home message is that now 19 out of 20 Americans would benefit from improving their metabolic health, and TRE is one of the easiest yet most powerful interventions for reducing insulin resistance, restoring metabolic flexibility and losing excess body fat.
Pelz has spent the last eight years of her clinical career using TRE, fine-tuning it in the trenches and gaining an understanding of the hormonal components that need to be taken into consideration, especially in women.
Your Two Energy Systems
As explained by Pelz, your body has two primary energy systems. One of them is activated when you eat. When your blood sugar goes up, your body uses that glucose for energy. When you don’t eat for a period of time, your blood sugar goes down, and if you are metabolically flexible your body switches over to a different energy system that uses ketones derived from fat, instead of glucose.
“Some people call it the fat burner energy system. But we’re really meant to metabolically switch over to this system,” Pelz says. “What I think has happened is that people are trying to just manipulate the food. We have so many discussions about what type of food [to eat] and the calorie counting idea.
But what we’re starting to see is that the more powerful conversation is WHEN to eat and how to switch over to this fat burning system. And what we know based on research, and what I’m seeing now in millions of people, is that the longer we stay in this fat burning ketogenic system, the more healing happens.
We know that at 13 to 15 hours [of fasting], we start to make ketones. We see growth hormone rise. We see inflammation come down. At 17, 18 hours in this fasted state, we start to see autophagy kick in. At 24 hours, we know that stem cells can start to come about in the intestinal area.
At 48 hours, we’re seeing antioxidant production go up. And Valter Longo taught us that [with] 72 hours [of fasting], you can reboot your whole immune system. So, it’s like this neurochemical magic that can happen in the body, but you can only access it when you go without food.”
The Circadian Connection
Another interesting component is that these energy systems are intimately tied to your circadian rhythm. Many know that the circadian rhythm is regulated by a master clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of your brain. But what most people don’t realize is that most all cells in your body also have an internal clock that is unrelated to this master clock.
While light and darkness regulate the master clock, food is the most important regulator or trigger for this other clock inside your cells. So, if you don’t get your feeding times right, your circadian rhythms, which are responsible for turning cellular protein production on and off, will get seriously impaired. Pelz explains:
“The easiest way to understand this is go back to how we lived in the primal days. Everything that we did back in those primal days was around the rising of the sun, the falling of the sun and the search for food.
Now we’re so affected by artificial light, and we have access to food all day long, that we are out of touch with our natural rhythm, the circadian rhythm being one of them. So, when we start to fast, we actually mimic what our primal ancestors did, which is go a little longer without food.
Usually that was in the morning. They had to get up and go search for food. They came home in the afternoon and they feasted. So, this feast-famine cycling, when done within a day period, tends to tap into this circadian rhythm and can start to bring back some normalcy to these natural rhythms that modern life has pulled us away from.”
How Long Is Your Ideal Eating Window?
The basic premise of TRE is that you eat all your meals within a specified window of time each day, and fast for the remainder. Where people differ is the length of that window. Here are three key rules to keep in mind:
- Your eating window should definitely be shorter than 12 hours
- Avoid eating first thing in the morning. Wait at least two or three hours
- Avoid eating right before bed. Have your last meal at least three hours or more before bedtime
With those “absolutes” in mind, your eating window could be anywhere from two to 10 hours. Eventually, you’ll need to find the ideal window for yourself, but to start, here are some other basic considerations.
“The first thing is to remember that you are trying to mimic what we did primally. So, feast-famine cycling. Sometimes they feasted and sometimes they went two or three days without food, and that’s how they’re able to switch in and out. The best way to approach fasting, in my opinion, and what I’m seeing with my community, is finding your natural rhythm.
We rarely want absolutes. I started to teach autophagy on my YouTube channel and people fell in love with the concept. But what we found is that a lot of people got very rigid with their fasting window. They’d get great results, but then they’d get stuck and start to get bad results because it became too rigid and they weren’t mimicking this feast-famine cycling.
So, what I started teaching was how to vary it. I like a general 5-1-1 concept, where five days a week, you’re intermittent fasting maybe 15 hours. One day a week you stretch it a little bit, and one day a week, you don’t fast.
What we’re seeing with that is unreal — the amounts of medication people are getting off of, the weight people are losing, and the super charging of their brain, all by just getting back into this feast-famine rhythm [that is] unique to them. So, there’s really not one answer of what’s the perfect fasting window.
A lot of people love the 16:8 [fasting for 16 hours and eating within eight]. That seems to be a very popular fasting window, and I think that works really great. But again, we’ve got to keep variation at the forefront of this conversation.”
How to Customize Your Fasting Window
So, how do you go about finding your unique and ideal feasting-fasting schedule? Pelz suggests starting by getting your fat burning system working again. If you’ve been an all-day grazer, start by compressing the window of time within which you eat.
Note the time you normally eat your first meal or snack, and when you eat your last. Count the hours, and then cut that down by one or two hours. Pelz recommends pushing back breakfast by one hour to start.
“You want to get a little uncomfortable,” she says. “Because you’ve applied a hormetic stress that your body can adapt to now. Once you get comfortable there, you push it back another hour, and another hour, until you get to 15 hours.
You want to feel ketones. And ketones feel like they supercharge your brain, you have better energy and your hunger goes away. That’s how you really know you’ve switched over, and for most people, that will happen around 15, 16 hours of not eating.”
Do that for one month, or until you’re completely comfortable with it, and then move into a more varied schedule, such as the 5-1-1 schedule mentioned earlier. The key at that point is variation. Feasting one day, and fasting for longer and shorter times on others.
Time Window Once You Are Metabolically Healthy
After I did this interview with Dr. Mindy, I began studying Ray Peat’s work and realized an important point. If you are one of the 19 out of 20 people who are metabolically inflexible, insulin resistant, and unable to easily switch between burning sugar and fat as your primary fuel, then the program that Dr. Mindy describes may be beneficial for you.
However, once you regain your metabolic flexibility, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, you will need to increase your eating window. This is because your body needs glucose and if you deprive it for too long, it will produce cortisol to stimulate your liver to make it. This increased cortisol can contribute to chronic inflammation and cellular damage.
Therefore, once you are no longer insulin resistant, it is best to vary your eating window between 8 and 12 hours and avoid going lower or higher than that window. It is also best to avoid eating before sunrise or after sunset and at least three hours before bedtime.
Another Starter Tip
Interestingly, research has shown that when you compress your eating window to around 16 hours or more, you become relatively metabolically immune to the damage that otherwise unhealthy foods would cause, such as processed food and refined carbohydrates.
This is not permission to eat junk food forever, but it does allow you to have a less than perfect diet all the time and still lose weight. This also means that when you’re first starting out, don’t change WHAT you’re eating. Only change WHEN you’re eating. So, if you eat a lot of processed foods, continue as normal, and just compress the eating window.
Once you’re used to that, THEN you can start making nutritional changes, start cutting out some of the unhealthiest foods and add in more wholesome choices you may not be used to. This will give you the greatest chance of success.
Dip Into Longer Fasts
In her book, “Fast Like a Girl,” Pelz describes six different fasts, ranging from 13 to 72 hours, all of which have been tested on millions of people. She suggests thinking of fasts as “switches,” where the longer you stay in a fasted state, the more healing is allowed to take place in your body.
“The idea of an eight- to 10-hour eating window is really easy. But I want to encourage people to dip into some of the longer fasts because that’s where we’re seeing incredible results. For example, a lot of people who are struggling to lose weight will do an eight- to 10-hour eating window, and they’re like, ‘I don’t have any ketones. I’m still hungry. I’m not losing weight.’
And so we’ve got to push it a little bit more so that we can get the body to find the glucose that it stored years ago (as triglycerides in your adipose tissue). The one for weight loss I love is 36 hours, where for 30 days, people do 36 hours of fasting followed by 12 hours of eating.
They saw a tremendous amount of reductions specifically in belly fat, which is an area where people really want to see a lot of weight loss. So, we know that when we go to those longer fast, we can push weight loss a little more.
There’s an incredible study showing that at 48 hours we start to see the whole dopamine system reboot, and we actually get new dopamine receptors. And we see that in our community, where people with mood disorders, not clinically intense ones but just general depression, malaise and anxiety, when they go into a 48-hour fast, they start to notice that they’re happier in the weeks afterward.
So, we’re saying, find what works for you most of the time, and then experiment and dabble in some of these longer fast. Sprinkle them in so that you get the healing benefit that occurs in these longer periods [of fasting].”
Aside from improved mood, those benefits also include autophagy and increased stem cell production. All of that said, though, longer fasts are not ideal for everyone. While in the past I’ve done up to 10-day water fasts, I no longer go beyond 20 hours or so, due to my age and my already optimized metabolic flexibility.
At this point in my life I’m far more concerned about maintaining muscle mass and preventing sarcopenia. I am more than convinced that the daily 18-hour fasts I do provide me with more than enough autophagy.
If I cut calories by 500 or 1,000, I can lose a pound or two, maybe even 5 pounds if I do it over a weekend of travel. So, again, there are no hard and fast rules. You really need to determine what works best for you, and keep your eye on your goal. What is it that you’re trying to achieve? Weight loss? Disease reversal? Antiaging benefits? Muscle mass maintenance?
Each may benefit from a different fasting schedule. “As long as fasting is working for you and you’re not getting stuck [on a plateau], then you don’t need to take that one-day [fast],” Pelz says. For the record, muscle loss is not a given, even with longer fasting intervals, so if you’re younger and fit, you can still do them. The key then lies in making sure you’re feeding your muscles correctly when you do eat. As explained by Pelz:
“When you’re fasting, you’re going without food. But then once you open up that eating window, eat! This is a time to nourish yourself.
And what we see in our community is, if you go from that fasting window and eat more protein, you start to stimulate not only mTOR in a positive way, but you also can trigger amino acid receptors in the muscles that will help the muscles grow stronger. So, the trick is once you eat, you got to eat and you got to eat the right macronutrients to keep that muscle really strong.”
The Importance of Protein
For muscle maintenance, you want at least 30 grams of protein, twice a day, to activate mTOR and provide enough raw materials to sustain your muscle mass, if not increase it. The reason muscle mass is so important is because within your muscle you have receptors that drive sugar into the muscle, so they act as a glucose sink. That’s how increasing your muscle mass helps counteract high blood sugar and lower your risk of diabetes.
“My recommendation is, always break your fast with protein, and come in with at least 30 grams,” Pelz says. “So now we’re switched back into sugar burner, but we got mTOR to build that muscle.
The hardest thing is that you might have to eat, even if you’re not hungry, because the ketones have killed that hunger hormone. So, you may have to really be mindful and intentional about your food.
This is where I get in a lot of debates sometimes, especially in the women’s health world, about calorie restriction versus fasting. Women, especially women over 40, do not want to be in calorie restriction. When you eat, you want to eat, and you want to eat protein.
Think of it like this: There’s a time when the eating window is closed, and then once you open it, then it’s like, ‘OK, now I’m going to eat.’ And the research [suggests eating] 30 grams [of protein] a few times a day.
Sometimes we can get away with 20, but the clinical research on protein cycling [shows] 30 grams every two to three hours is the best way to stimulate those amino acid receptors in the muscle that will build muscle …
The other really cool tool is working out in a fasted state, stress your muscle, break that muscle down, and then follow up with protein. We’re seeing a lot of lean body muscle masses happening approaching it that way.”
Guidance for Timing Your Eating Window
As mentioned earlier, you want to eat your last meal at least three to four hours before bed. One reason for this is because digestion continues for five to six hours after our last bite or drink of any food (calories). So, if you eat your last meal three hours before bed, you’ll remain in digestive mode for another three while sleeping.
Assuming you sleep for eight hours, that gives you five hours in repair and regeneration mode while sleeping, plus however many hours you fast into the morning. Getting this timing right is important, as it affects your insulin level and related hormones, such as melatonin. When you’re digesting food, melatonin will be inhibited, and hence the quality of your sleep will go down and your insulin resistance will go up.
“If we could solve insulin resistance, we’d solve a lot of problems. So, you have to remember that when melatonin goes up, you’re going to become more insulin resistant. When does melatonin go up? It starts to go up as the sun goes down. So, in the winter time, you’re going to need to eat a lot earlier. You’re going to need to stop eating around 2 p.m. or 3 p.m.
If you want an eight-hour eating window, you want to make sure you’re measuring that window to melatonin’s demands. When you first get up in the morning, melatonin’s high, you’re again going to be more insulin resistant. So, we’ve got these bookends of light that we need to look at for our eating window and act accordingly.
Personally, in the summertime, I’m a fan of [eating between] 11 and 5, maybe even 4. In the wintertime, you’re going to probably have to move that eating window up a little bit so that you end up stopping well before sunset so that your body can be more insulin sensitive with that meal.”
Fasting and Female Hormones
Men and women differ in terms of the sex hormones that predominate and drive key health processes. For men, testosterone is a primary one, and research shows intermittent fasting has a beneficial impact on testosterone in men. A 15-hour fast can raise testosterone by as much as 1,300%.
In women, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone are a key triad. While women don’t have as high a testosterone level as men, it’s still a very important hormone. After the age of 40, estrogen starts to fluctuate, often resulting in weight gain and insulin resistance. Timing your fasting to your menstrual cycle can help smooth out these estrogen dips.
Glucose is required to make progesterone, so the week before a woman’s cycle, her body will raise glucose and become more insulin resistant.
A woman who follows a one-meal-a-day lifestyle will often see adverse changes related to her sex hormones, such as hair loss, cycle changes and early menopause, because her progesterone is tanking. The good news is you can normalize your hormones by changing the length of your eating window during the different phases of your menstrual cycle.
“So, it’s these three hormones that we have to learn to cycle,” Pelz says. “In ‘Fast Like a Girl,’ I show how to cycle it for a menstruating woman and for perimenopausal women. But even postmenopausal women have to think about this as those hormones decline.
I have been shocked by how many women don’t have a regular cycle. This is a problem, because our cycle is how we detox … In the book, we have a 30-day fasting reset that women can do if they don’t have a cycle to time it to.
You want to go through a 30-day period where you’re playing with the principles of how estrogen, testosterone and progesterone would play. So, you’re having some [intervals] where you’re going into a little longer fast, then you step out of fasting and you move into some liver-promoting foods and more gut healthy foods that’ll help you break down those hormones.
Then you go into longer fasts trying to simulate coming out of ovulation. And then you have a period where you’re not fasting and you’re leaning into more root vegetables, potatoes and squashes, to raise progesterone.
There’s a lot of nuance in that statement I just made. But for women without a cycle, who age-appropriately should be having a cycle, we’ve got to start to kind of mimic what that cycle would look like. And what we’re seeing is, eventually, with that rhythm, their cycle comes back.”
A Woman’s Fasting Cycle
One of the prime reasons for the interview was to understand how time-restricted eating is modified based on a woman’s menstrual cycle. In her book, Pelz maps out what she calls the fasting cycle, which is a tool women need when they first start fasting.
“It looks like this. Day 1 through Day 10 of a woman’s cycle, estrogen is building. You can go into those longer fast. So, if you’re already fasting and want to throw a three-day water fast, throw it in during that first 10 days.
When you get into ovulation and all these hormones are surging — we’ve got estrogen at its highest, testosterone at its highest and a little bit of progesterone — we need to bring the fast down to 13, 15 hours. And you definitely don’t want to push it. If that’s a stretch, you can even do 12. This is not a time to push your fast. It’s a time to lean into more vegetables and bitter foods to really help support the liver and the gut to break down those hormones.
Then around Day 16, we come out of ovulation and the hormones have dropped, so we can go back into a little longer fast. If you like a 24-hour fast, you can do that at this point. But as we start to get into about Day 19, progesterone’s building, and this is where we don’t want to fast, and we don’t want to be in keto.
That’s another big piece. We’ve got to raise glucose so that progesterone has what it needs to be able to kick in. A lot of these 25-year-olds, 32-year-olds that have abnormal cycles, if they start to create that rhythm, they’ll start to bring their cycle back.”
The graphics below from Pelz’s book can be helpful in understanding the female fasting cycle.
Fasting Cycle for Perimenopausal and Menopausal Women
If you no longer menstruate because of your age, this next section is for you:
“Around 40, you really need to start to get to know the characteristics of progesterone and estrogen, primarily because as your ovaries are going into retirement, you’re going to see some pretty dramatic shifts in those two hormones …
If you’re spotting, that’s progesterone tapping you on the shoulder saying, ‘Hey, I need a little more glucose.’ So, you would step out of a keto fasting day, and the next day you may shorten your fast, elongate your eating window and use more of nature’s carbs to give progesterone more glucose. So, spotting is a big one.
Anxiety is another big one. Trouble sleeping is another big one, where we need to have women step out of keto and fasting and step into more of this higher glucose [level, i.e., eat more, and expand your eating window]. Progesterone loves root vegetables, all the squashes, grass-fed beef, even tropical fruits. Bananas, mangoes, papayas, citrus fruits, those really help support progesterone production.
A perimenopausal woman will know that estrogen’s really low when she starts getting hot flashes, when her hair starts getting frizzy and dry. When her skin is really dry, she’s starting to get more wrinkles, her mucosal membranes become really dry and cognition is difficult.
If that’s happening, then you actually want to lean into a little bit of the longer fast, because estrogen does really well with a longer fasting window, and you want to lean into more of a ketogenic diet. I think she still needs some carbs, but she really needs to lean into longer fast to get estrogen and more protein. And that will dramatically help.”
If you’re in menopause, Pelz recommends doing the 30-day reset detailed in her book, but timed to the moon cycle. You may notice that the four cycles in the charts above have the same names as the moon cycles. So, you’d start your reset based on the moon cycle that is present at the time that you begin. For example, the day of the full moon is ovulation at Day 11, so you’d start at Day 11 and follow the schedule for the next 29.5 days from there.
To learn more, be sure to pick up a copy of “Fast Like a Girl.” She’s also releasing an app that will guide you on what you should be doing each day, which can be a very helpful tool.
Fake Meat Dangers With Dr. Joseph Mercola
At face value, fake meat sounds like the perfect solution to end world hunger, protect animal welfare and save the planet from environmental destruction. Even a brief look below the surface reveals a much more nefarious reality, however. To help raise awareness about this latest assault on human health, I recently spoke with host Polly […]
At face value, fake meat sounds like the perfect solution to end world hunger, protect animal welfare and save the planet from environmental destruction. Even a brief look below the surface reveals a much more nefarious reality, however.
To help raise awareness about this latest assault on human health, I recently spoke with host Polly Tommey on “Tea Time,” a program by Children’s Health Defense, about the dangers of fake meat products.1
Fake Meat Is All About Controlling the Food Supply
Fake food — including lab-grown meat, animal-free dairy and plant-based meat — is the globalists’ latest attempt to control the food supply. Former U.S. Secretary of State and national security adviser Henry Kissinger once said, “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control people.”2 Controlling people is their whole agenda.
The globalists have long held a monopoly on the grain industry with their patented genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In the early 2010s, not many people knew about GMOs. In 2011, we started to educate the public about their dangers, as they posed a major threat to public health and the environment.
In 2012, a ballot initiative was launched in California to require mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods and food ingredients. The initiative was narrowly defeated due to massive donations from multinational corporations, but we won in the long term because awareness of GMOs in the food supply significantly increased. Now, most health-conscious people avoid GE/GMOs.
A similar trend is now occurring with fake food. The globalists are trying to replace animal husbandry with lab-grown meat, which will allow private companies to effectively control the entire food supply.
Fake Meat Is Even Worse Than CAFOs
Many people are aware of the pitfalls of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) — unnatural diets of GMO grains, crowded conditions, inhumane treatment, excessive pollution and rampant spread of disease. CAFOs are bad — but the new fake food era is going to be even worse.
With their patented fake meat products, the globalists will have unprecedented control over people’s health.3 It sounds noble to try to provide for the entire world’s population using animal-free methods, but it’s a deception.
Will Harris is a regenerative farming pioneer who runs White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia. He produces high-quality grass fed products, including beef and other animal products, in a way that’s good for consumers, the environment and the financial health of his business. While the globalists are spinning the idea that animal foods are destroying the planet, when raised regeneratively the way Harris does, this is far from the truth.
It’s the fake foods that will ultimately jeopardize the environment. “We are sequestering 3.5 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent for every pound of grass fed beef we sell. Ironically, the same environmental engineers did an analysis on Impossible Burgers,” Harris said on “The Joe Rogan Experience.” “They’re emitting 3.5 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent.”4
Regenerative Farming Beats Fake Foods
Impossible Foods, along with Beyond Meat, is a major player in the fake meat marketplace. It claimed to have a better carbon footprint than live animal farms and hired Quantis, a group of scientists and strategists, to prove its point. According to the executive summary, its product reduced environmental impact between 87% and 96% in the categories studied, including land occupation and water consumption.5
This, however, compares fake meat to meat from CAFOs, which are notoriously destructive to the environment and nothing like Harris’ farm. Harris commissioned the same analysis by Quantis for White Oaks and published a 33-page study showing comparisons of White Oaks Pastures’ emissions against conventional beef production.6
While the manufactured fake meat reduced its carbon footprint up to 96% in some categories, White Oaks had a net total emission in the negative numbers as compared to CAFO-produced meat.
Further, grass fed beef from White Oak Pastures had a carbon footprint that was 111% lower than a typical U.S. CAFO, and its regenerative system effectively captured soil carbon, which offset the majority of emissions related to beef production.7
“The WOP [White Oak Pastures] system effectively captures soil carbon, offsetting a majority of the emissions related to beef production,” the report stated. “In the best case, the WOP beef production may have a net positive effect on climate. The results show great potential.”8
So, the idea that animals must be removed from agriculture to save the planet is entirely flawed. In fact, animals are an integral, and necessary, part of the restorative process.
What Is Fake Meat?
Fake meat is marketed as a health food, but it’s nothing more than a highly ultraprocessed mixture of chemicals. Impossible Foods, for instance, uses genetic engineering to insert the DNA from soy plants into yeast, creating GE yeast with the gene for soy leghemoglobin.9
Impossible Foods refers to this compound as “heme,” but technically plants produce non-heme iron, and this is GE yeast-derived soy leghemoglobin.10 Heme iron only occurs in meat and seafood. Impossible Foods’ GE heme is used in their fake meat burgers as a color additive that makes the product appear to “bleed” like real meat.
The health effects of GE heme are unknown, but this didn’t stop the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from approving soy leghemoglobin in 2019. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a lawsuit challenging the approval, which they called “unusually rapid”11 and risky for public health.
In their lawsuit, CFS points out that soy leghemoglobin is produced using synthetic biology, or “genetic engineering on steroids,” which does not shuffle DNA pieces between species but instead constructs new biological parts, devices and systems that do not exist in the natural world:12
The reason why Impossible Foods turned to synthetic biology to produce GE soy leghemoglobin is because it couldn’t extract enough of the substance directly from soybean roots to produce its fake meat products on an industrial, mass-produced scale. The FDA GRAS for soy leghemoglobin is 526 pages long, if that gives you any idea of the industrialized complexity of this so-called GRAS “health” food.13
Beyond Meat is similarly industrially processed. Beyond Burger patties contain 22 ingredients. Among them are expeller-pressed canola oil, pea protein isolate, cellulose from bamboo, modified food starch and methylcellulose14 — hardly “health” foods. To morph these ingredients into a patty that resembles meat require further processing.
It’s revealing, too, that while truly natural foods cannot be patented, Impossible Foods holds at least 14 patents, with about 100 more pending.15
Impossible Foods’ Fake Meat Is Loaded With Glyphosate, LA
Considering that many ingredients in fake meat products are made from GE soy,16 it’s not surprising that they’re also contaminated with the herbicide glyphosate. Consumer advocacy group Moms Across America (MAA) commissioned Health Research Institute Labs (HRI Labs), an independent laboratory that tests both micronutrients and toxins found in food, to determine how much glyphosate is in the Impossible Burger and its competitor, the Beyond Burger.
The total result of glyphosate and AMPA, the main metabolite of glyphosate, in the burgers was 11.3 parts per billion (ppb) in the Impossible Burger and 1 ppb in the Beyond Burger.17
When the concerning results were revealed, Impossible Foods engaged in a smear campaign to try and discredit MAA, labeling the group of moms “an anti-GMO, anti-vaccine, anti-science, fundamentalist group that cynically peddles a toxic brew of medical misinformation and completely unregulated, untested, potentially toxic quack ‘supplements’ …”18
The glyphosate in fake meat is one issue. The excess amounts of omega-6 fat in the form of linoleic acid (LA) are another. In my opinion, this metabolic poison is the primary contributor to rising rates of chronic disease. It’s important to realize that fake meat alternatives do not contain healthy animal fats. All the fat comes from industrial seed oils like soy and canola oil, which are top sources of LA.
Eliminating ultraprocessed foods from your diet is essential to keeping your LA intake low, and this includes fake meat.
‘Precision Fermentation’ Isn’t Natural Either
Fake food companies want you to believe their products are natural because they’re made with components of plants, even though nothing like them exists in nature. Precision fermentation is another term used by the biotech industry to piggyback off the popularity of truly health-promoting natural fermentation.
Precision fermentation, however, is nothing like its natural counterpart. What is perhaps most disturbing about the use of precision fermentation is that companies are allowed to claim that it’s natural.
Metabolic engineering is a major subset of precision fermentation, which involves methods such as next-generation sequencing, high-throughput library screening, molecular cloning and multiomics “to optimize microbial strains, metabolic pathways, product yields, and bioprocess scale-up.”19 It sounds just like something down on the farm, doesn’t it?
Whether it’s called precision fermentation, gene editing, GMO or something else, don’t fall for the hype that it’s good for you or the planet.
Where Should You Get Your Meat?
If fake meat isn’t healthy, and CAFO meat isn’t a good choice either, a reasonable question is where can you find meat that’s beneficial for your health and the planet? The answer is to get to know a farmer in your area. Visit the farm and view how the animals are being raised.
Get to know the resources available to you within your local community. The community will naturally validate the vendors who are raising food the right way. If you can’t find a local farm for ruminant animals like cows, buffalo or lamb, look for certified organic options at your local grocery store. However, it’s best to stay local and find a source of real, whole food near you.
As much as you can, plant a garden for vegetables, grow fruit trees and even raise chickens if it’s allowed in your area. For the food you can’t source on your own, lean on your community to fill in the gaps.
Just as was the case with GMOs, raising awareness about the dangers of fake meat is also important, especially in this early and aggressively expanding phase. Tell your social circle that to save the planet and support your health, it’s necessary to skip all the fake meat alternatives and opt for real food instead.
When you shop for food, know your farmer and look for regenerative, biodynamic and/or grass fed farming methods, which are what we need to support a healthy, autonomous population.
Will We See Another Kennedy in the White House?
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is the author of two books. “American Values: Lessons I Learned from My Family,” published in 2018, describes the Kennedys’ 60-year-long fight with the CIA.
His 2021 book, “The Real Anthony Fauci,” became a runaway best seller, selling over a million copies, despite unprecedented censorship. In this interview, Kennedy, an attorney, reviews some of the lawsuits filed by Children’s Health Defense (CHD), founded by Kennedy in 2018 (was World Mercury Project in 2016), and why he believes he can “drain the swamp” and clean up our federal agencies if elected president of the United States.
The Trusted News Initiative Lawsuit
One of the most recent lawsuits is the antitrust lawsuit against the Trusted News Initiative (TNI). I and several other journalists and news organizations that have been censored during the pandemic are also plaintiffs in this lawsuit. As explained by Kennedy:
“The Trusted News Initiative lawsuit applies antitrust laws against this really shocking agreement made at the onset of the pandemic, initiated by the BBC.
The BBC … is not officially a government agency. It’s a government-supported network that is supposed to have walls between itself and the government, but recent scandals in Britain have exposed how closely the BBC works with the British Intelligence Agency, MI5, particularly in censoring information on certain subjects, including public health.
This is now well-established. We don’t know how much the British Intelligence Agency had to do with kicking off the TNI, but the BBC approached a dozen top news organizations in the United States, including The New York Times and The Washington Post … and the social media networks … proposing they all censor information that did not comport with government proclamations during the pandemic.”
Importantly, a memorandum by the BBC states that independent news sites are “existential competitors” and a threat to the mainstream media business model and must be crushed.
Eliminating “competition” (which we’re not) was the entire purpose behind TNI, so the basis for the lawsuit is that TNI is violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. As explained by Kennedy, the BBC is using its market power and illegal collaboration with other leading market actors to crush smaller competitors.
First Amendment Cases
The CHD has also filed a number of First Amendment cases, including one against Facebook, which censored the CHD and many other sites. Now, Facebook, as a private company, has the right to censor anyone it wants, for any reason.
However, they CANNOT do it at the behest of the government. If they become government surrogates for censorship — which is what they’ve become — then the First Amendment, the right to free speech, is implicated.
“What we’ve said is that they were taking orders from government officials,” Kennedy says. “When we filed the lawsuit, we knew that was happening, but we did not have the positive proof. Now we do. We have internal memos that show Anthony Fauci collaborating on the censorship with Mark Zuckerberg.
And we now know that Twitter had offered a portal to the FBI and CIA to censor people who did not go along with the government narrative, and that they were aggressively using it. We found emails where the White House specifically asks Twitter to censor Robert Kennedy. So, we have a number of those lawsuits out there.”
We’re Fighting an Uphill Battle
The censorship has caused many of us in independent, alternative media to lose huge amounts of money as we can no longer reach our audiences. And while Kennedy hopes to be able to recover some of these lost revenues, that alone will not effect change.
While the U.S. government and mainstream media are clearly engaged in illegal activity, there’s really no penalty for it unless you sue them, and even if you win, the punitive damages are not going to be severe enough to force a change in behavior. At best, lawsuits bring public attention to the problem and cause embarrassment, which might curtail it somewhat.
Twitter Files Reveal the Breadth of the Illegal Collusion
On the upside, we now know a lot about how they operate because of the Twitter files, released by Elon Musk. As noted by Kennedy, it’s far worse than any of us initially suspected. For example, the FBI has a portal into social media that allows it to remove posts and accounts it doesn’t like.
“That is scary. That is against everything our country was founded on,” Kennedy says. “The single most important premise was that citizens ought to be able to criticize government, which was not true for the American revolutionary generation. You could be punished for criticizing the king.
And they said, we don’t want that anymore. We’re going to have free speech for all. We’re going to make sure that there’s a ferment, that there is a million different ideas bouncing around. And ‘misinformation,’ for better or worse, is constitutionally protected speech.
There are forms of speech that are not constitutionally protected. Inciting violence is not constitutionally protected. Child pornography is not constitutionally protected … But telling a lie to somebody is. It has to be that way because once you appoint an arbiter to tell what’s true and what’s not true, you’ll end up getting one version of truth, and it ultimately will not be the true one.”
Many Were Paid to Lie
Indeed, if the last three years have taught us anything, it’s that self-appointed “arbiters of truth” get it wrong most, if not all, of the time. And, as noted by Kennedy, the crime is not being wrong. The crime is censoring anybody who disagrees, so people never even have the opportunity to discover the error, including themselves (if ignorance is in fact the case).
“In May 2020, I published a post that said the vaccines are going to be DOA, they’re dead on arrival, because the monkey studies just came out and they don’t prevent transmission,” Kennedy says. “This was before the rollout.
I was like, ‘We were looking at their own monkey studies and the concentrations of COVID-19 viruses or SARS-CoV-2 viral loading in the nasopharynxes of the macaque monkeys that they had vaccinated was identical to the loading in the unvaccinated monkeys once they were exposed to the disease.’
So, they knew at that time that this vaccine could not prevent transmission. Everybody knew that. And yet they were saying out loud, ‘It can prevent transmission.’ They had no right, no reason, to say that other than to fool the public.
And then they were censoring people like me who were saying, ‘Wait a minute, how’s this possible? How can you possibly make this claim? Of course it’s not going to prevent transmission.’ So, the crime is not being wrong. Anybody can be wrong. The crime is censoring people who were right or who had alternative viewpoints that prevented them from ever getting anything right.
Listen, if I had to predict what’s going to happen now, it’s very clear, this isn’t a speculation. The Biden administration is trying to give the WHO [World Health Organization] these preemptive powers to declare future pandemics based upon no evidence. So, all they have to say is there’s a pandemic …
And when you declare a pandemic, not only does it give the government extraordinary powers, it gives the pharmaceutical industry immunity from liability. It gives doctors immunity from liability, which is accompanied, of course, by impunity and bad judgment. It also loosens up billions of dollars in subsidies and cash to promote the business models of those pharmaceutical companies.
At least now, we have an independent power to say, ‘We don’t believe WHO and we’re not going to go along with this global emergency.’ Right now we’re about to sign a treaty that will give that power to the WHO. So Jeremy Farrar, who was one of the masterminds of this PSYOP — he was the guy who hid the COVID coverup. He manipulated the Lancet studies. He directed all these virologists who believed that it came from a lab… to say that it didn’t.
Because of the control he has over the funding of virology and infectious disease, and biomedical research globally, he was able to marshal these core groups of virologists who just lied to us openly. And then they all got payoffs from Fauci.
Kristian Andersen, Ph.D., got $ 9 million after he lied to us. Eddie Holmes got $ 9 million to lie. All the guys who participated in the Lancet paper and the Nature Medicine papers — the ones that were then cited by all of the journalists in the world to say it’s been proven there’s no such thing as a lab leak — we now have their emails.
And all those guys believed it was a lab leak, secretly, privately … but they were telling the public it wasn’t. And they all got payoffs of millions and millions of dollars.”
No Evidence to Support Childhood Vaccination Schedule
As noted by Kennedy, the entire field of virology is basically operating as a criminal enterprise. They never have to prove anything and they’re never accountable. For example, they don’t have to prove that vaccines actually work, or that it’s safe to take multiple vaccines at the same time.
“By ‘work,’ I mean five years from now, you’re more likely to be healthier if you got the vaccine than if you didn’t. If you show me that, I’ll take all the vaccines in the world,” Kennedy says. “But there are no studies that support that, and they’re able to escape the standard safety testing, placebo-controlled trials, prelicensure trials that are de rigueur for every other medicine except for vaccines.”
Seventy-two doses of 16 vaccines are now recommended for American children by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States have the right to mandate them as they see fit, and in California and New York, all 16 vaccines are mandated. But whether they’re mandated or not, there’s tremendous pressure to take them all.
In California and New York, you can’t even get a medical exemption. Technically, both states allow medical exemptions, but no doctor will write you one because they risk losing their medical license if they do.
“They’re mandating these 72 doses of 16 vaccines, and they’ve never tested a single one … in a placebo-controlled study. They have no idea what the risk profile is for these medicines and they’re mandating them to healthy people …
You’re taking healthy people with functioning immune systems and you’re forcing them to take something that you don’t know what the outcomes of are. It is criminal,” Kennedy says.
Will We See Kennedy in the Presidential Race?
Kennedy recently announced he’s considering entering the presidential race if he can garner enough support. Considering two members of the Kennedy family have already been murdered, this requires quite a bit of courage. Clearly, there are risks involved anytime you try to change a corrupt system from within. Kennedy comments:
“I haven’t made the decision yet, but I’m leaning towards doing it. It’s going to give me an opportunity, as it makes it much more difficult for them to censor me, [to] talk about all these issues for the first time without censorship and connect them.
I’ve been an environmental attorney and advocate for 40 years, and I saw the impact of agency capture. That’s why I was able to recognize it so easily when I saw it in the pharmaceutical industry. All these agencies are captured. The pharmaceutical industry owns the National Institutes of Health … CDC, FDA. The coal and oil industry and the pesticide industry own the Environmental Protection Agency.
I was on the trial team in the Monsanto case, which ended up with a $ 13 billion settlement. We had three trials in a row … [and] we did a lot of discovery. We were able to find secret EPA papers that showed the head of the EPA pesticide division for a decade was a man who was secretly working for Monsanto.
So Monsanto was actually directing his movements. In one of the emails we found, Monsanto instructed him to kill a study that was being done by another agency, the Agency for Toxic Substance Control, ATSDR. It’s a smaller agency that focuses just on toxins that’s separate from EPA.
He’d always been able to control the EPA studies and to fix them. But now here’s another agency that Monsanto has no control over that’s actually going to do an independent study on the carcinogenicity of Roundup and glyphosate.
They were desperate to kill that study and he said, ‘I’m going to kill that study for you, but you need to give me a gold medal when I do that.’ So, these were the kind of correspondence he had with his true boss, Monsanto. And this, unfortunately, is true in all the federal agencies.”
Democracy Has Been Subverted
As noted by Kennedy, most government agencies have been captured by the industries they’re supposed to regulate, and as a result, democracy has been subverted, as they’re no longer working for the American people. They’re working for big corporations that are constantly putting profit above safety.
“There’s now a perfect merger of state and corporate power in this country,” Kennedy says, “and the system is rigged against the middle class and the poor. And by the way, among the captured agencies are the CIA and the Pentagon, which have been captured by military contractors, and they don’t care how much the Ukraine war costs us.
Nobody cares because they’re killing Ukrainians, not American kids. So it’s the perfect war for them. And we ship over $ 112 billion and who gets that? It bounces. A lot of it goes into Zelenskyy’s pocket and then it’s bounced back to General Dynamics and all the military contractors. They then hire all the generals when they leave the Pentagon.
Those are the generals you see on CNN every night, gravely saying we need to defend the people of Ukraine. But they’re working for General Dynamic, stuffing their pockets with the money we’re sending over there. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be helping the Ukrainian people or that Vladimir Putin isn’t a thug and a gangster …
But we need to understand that we have intelligence agencies and military agencies whose job it is … to destroy American democracy from within. And that those agencies, their job is to provide a constant pipeline of new wars that are going to feed the military industrial complex which owns them.
Look, we gave a $ 112 billion to Ukraine already. The entire budget of CDC is $ 12 billion. The entire budget of EPA I think is around $ 11 billion. And we have a crisis in this country. We have a child health crisis — 54% of our children have chronic disease and we don’t know what’s causing it.
We have kids going to dilapidated schools. Our infrastructure is falling apart. We have a middle class in this country has been hollowed out and destroyed and we need to start paying attention to these problems here at home and solving them.”
DOT — Another Example of a Captured Agency
The toxic train wreck in East Palestine, Ohio, is another example of what happens when regulatory agencies are captured. According to Kennedy, Norfolk Southern Railway has a weekly revenue of $ 1.5 billion, and its cap for safety violations is $ 225,000. So, there’s no incentive for the railway to make sure safety regulations are followed.
Its lackadaisical approach to safety has now contaminated an entire region and destroyed the lives of several hundred residents, yet the penalty is barely a drop in their revenue bucket. And again, the reason they’re getting away with this is because the Department of Transportation (DOT) is wholly captured by the big railroad companies.
“I like Pete [Buttigieg], but he’s not a guy who looks at that agency and says, ‘I know it’s a captured agency and I’m going to weed out the people who are corrupt, I’m going to make the trains run on time, I’m going to make sure they have two engineers and I’m going to make sure they’re using electronic controlled brakes and not the brakes they used in the civil war’ — which is what was on this train …
Why is that? Because [the DOT is] a captured agency. The electronic brakes would’ve cost $ 3 billion to put on their entire fleet. That is two weeks of revenue for that company, but they rather spent the money on lobbyists, make sure they didn’t have to do that, and then they took the cash and did a stock buyback.
So, they all are getting rich and the people in East Palestine are now drinking poisoned water, their cats are dying, their cows are dying and their children are now exposed to dioxin. A single molecule of dioxin can cause cancer. It is the most toxic molecule that we know of in the universe that’s not radioactive. It’s horrendously toxic, and it’s now spread over the landscape …”
Why Kennedy Believes He Can Root Out the Corruption
As explained by Kennedy, politicians may start out believing their own campaign promise to end corruption but, in the end, they simply don’t know how to fix the problem. They don’t know how to clean up these agencies. Even presidents have been powerless in this regard.
“You can’t go into an agency with 30,000 or 60,000 employees and fix it overnight unless you know exactly where the problem is,” Kennedy says. “So, they appoint a guy to run that agency who’s usually from the industry … And that guy doesn’t know how to fix it either. So, he relies on the department heads and the branch heads within that agency, and they’re all corrupt and have been there 50 years, like Fauci …
Some of the politicians are even worse. They just get co-opted. They’re taking money from the industry and become slaves to the congressional committee chairs who are all on the take … I feel I can fix this problem like nobody else can, because I know how these agencies work.
I know the individuals in these agencies who need to be moved to Nome, Alaska, and the ones who have been doing favors, who are in the tank with the industry. I know the databases that we need to open and make public so that the independent scientists can do their jobs.
I know how to stop the corruption in the universities by telling the universities you’re not getting money anymore to do these phony pharmaceutical industry studies, or oil industry studies.
I know how to send my attorney general after the journals like the Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine and sue them for racketeering, saying, ‘You are not telling the truth. You’re claiming to tell the truth to people about medicine, but you guys admit it’s not the truth. It’s pharmaceutical industry propaganda.’
All these agencies have that same kind of structure, and I’ve spent 40 years suing them. I’ve spent 20 years suing the United States Department of Agriculture for doing favors for Smithfield Foods, Tyson Food, Bo Pilgrim, Cargill and Monsanto. It’s a captive agency …
I feel like I should do this, and that it will give me a chance to talk to the American people. If people want to hear the truth, I’ll win. If they want business as usual, then I won’t. But for me it’s irrelevant. I’m going to fight as hard as I can to win. But my only real concern is to leave this process with my integrity intact and my family.
If I can protect my family and have my integrity, then I’ve done what I’m supposed to do. If I didn’t do this, I would feel like it was an opportunity that I had missed. I might, if I can win, change things. And I know how to change things probably better than any politician who has run in the last 20 years …
A lot of the changes that I could make are changes that I wouldn’t need Congress for — how to restructure the agencies, including the intelligence agencies, so that they begin to work for the American people and for actual national security rather than what they’ve been doing.
My father had a plan for reorganizing the CIA that I think is still relevant today … The problem is the espionage aspect of the CIA … [It should be] information gathering and analysis to the president to make better decisions, but that’s not what the agency ended up doing …
It has nothing in its charter that it would allow it to do paramilitary operations to fix elections, assassinate leaders, kidnap, kill people, torture people. None of that was part of its initial mission.
[Allen] Dulles [the founding director of the CIA] snuck that in through generous interpretations of some of the charter provisions. And then what happened, the plans division, which is the dirty tricks division, became the tail that was wagging the espionage dog.
And the espionage function of CIA, it should be oversight of the plans division. They should be antagonistic towards each other … The problem with the CIA is it has never learned from mistakes. It never does, because there’s never any accountability … Patriotism means a faithfulness to the United States Constitution above all. Above all. And if you don’t know that, you shouldn’t be in government.”
How You Can Support Kennedy’s Presidential Bid
If you want to support Kennedy in his bid for president of the United States, be sure to visit TeamKennedy.com. For updates on the litigation Kennedy is involved in, sign up for the CDH newsletter, The Defender, on Childrenshealthdefense.org.
Economic Impact of Obesity to Surpass $4 Trillion by 2035
In 1954, obesity was called a common physical abnormality.1 Today it’s called an epidemic.2 Many of the complications related to obesity are health conditions that negatively impact quality of life and increase health costs. These include lung, liver and heart diseases, arthritis and gout.3
The 2023 report4 from the World Obesity Federation estimates that the economic impact of overweight and obesity will surpass $ 4.3 trillion annually by 2035. In the U.S., the CDC5 reports the prevalence of obesity in adults was 41.9% measured from 2017 to March 2020. This represented an increase from 30.5% from 1999 to 2000. The estimated annual medical costs were roughly $ 173 billion in 2019 dollars.
Using this estimate, medical costs for obese adults were $ 1,861 higher than those who had a healthy weight. In children and adolescents6 aged 2 to 19 years from 2017 to 2020, the prevalence of obesity was 19.7%, which in raw numbers was approximately 14.7 million adolescents and children. The prevalence ranged from 12.7% in 2- to 5-year-olds to as high as 22.2% in 12- to 19-year-olds.
According to data collected by the CDC, obesity affects some groups more than others7 and some areas of the country more than others.8 Kentucky and West Virginia have the highest percentage of the population who are obese in the country, while Washington, D.C., has the lowest.
2035 Obesity Economic Impact Estimated to Surpass $ 4 Trillion
The World Obesity Federation 2023 report9 predicts that more than half of the global population will be overweight or obese by 2035 and nearly 2 billion will be obese. The 2022 estimate10 was that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 7 men or roughly over 1 billion people will be obese by 2030. In other words, in just five years, from 2030 to 2035, they estimate the number of individuals who will be obese will nearly double.
According to the World Obesity Federation,11 1 in 7 people across the globe is living with obesity. They estimate this number will increase to 1 in 4 by 2035. The rising number of overweight and obese individuals has a significant impact on health care costs. According to the report, the economic impact in 2035 will reach 3% of the global GDP which is comparable to the cost of COVID-19 in 2020.
Additionally, childhood obesity may double from 2020 levels in boys and is predicted to more than double in girls. Of the 10 countries with the greatest estimated increase, all are either in Asia or Africa and nine are from low or lower-middle-income countries.
They estimate that continued failure in prevention and treatment will lead to these 12-year estimates, and they call for the development of national plans around the world to address this growing epidemic.
According to the Federation, the report emphasizes the need for action plans but acknowledges the impact of several external factors such as climate change, COVID-19 restrictions, chemical pollutants and new pandemics. The Federation’s partners include pharmaceutical, technology and weight loss companies, including:12
The report is used to promote World Obesity Day, during which the Federation encourages conversations about obesity to correct misconceptions, “acknowledge its complexities, and take effective, collective action. Because when we all talk, debate and share, we can shift norms and transform health outcomes for everybody.”13
Childhood Obesity Raises Risk for Adult Health Concerns
The rising number of children with obesity not only increases a child’s risk of health challenges during childhood but also raises their risk for health concerns in adulthood. Obese children14 are more likely to have other serious physical and mental health conditions. Mental health challenges may include anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, a higher risk of being teased and bullied, and poor social skills.
Some of the serious medical problems that can arise from childhood obesity during childhood are liver disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, sleep disorders, respiratory problems and premature puberty. Each of these conditions also raises health care costs.
Yet, as data have demonstrated, the psychological, physical and financial challenges associated with childhood obesity follow an individual into adulthood. One study15 published in March 2023 from the University of Gothenburg demonstrated that overweight children had an increased risk of blood clots as they moved into adulthood.16
The researchers sought to evaluate the contribution that childhood obesity may play in the one-third of thromboembolic events that are known to be related to obesity. They gathered data from 37,672 men for whom they had data on height and weight during childhood, puberty and young adulthood.
They concluded that being overweight as a young adult was a strong determinant in the risk of adult venous and arterial thromboembolic events in men and that being overweight as a child was a moderate determinant.17 A 2016 meta-analysis of 15 studies and 200,777 participants demonstrated that obese children and adolescents had a five times higher risk of being obese in adulthood than those who were not obese.18
Although childhood obesity can increase the risk of certain cardiovascular health challenges in childhood, a 2017 systematic review with meta-analysis19 also demonstrated that childhood obesity could be a risk factor for adult cardiovascular disease.
A 2020 literature review20 acknowledged that the rise in body mass index in children triggers a variety of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases that increase the risk of early onset disease in young adults that ultimately reduces their productive years and may lead to early disability.
Childhood obesity also increases the risk of premature death beginning in middle age. A 2020 study21 published in PLOS Medicine sought to evaluate whether that risk also occurred in young adulthood. The researchers collected data from 41,359 individuals and determined that the risk of mortality in early adulthood could be higher for individuals who were obese as a child.
77% of Potential U.S. Military Recruits Considered Unfit
A 2009 military fitness report from the Pentagon entitled “Ready, Willing, and Unable to Serve,”22 revealed that 75% of Americans aged 17 to 24 were ineligible for the military based on three crucial reasons — lacking a high school diploma, having at least one prior criminal conviction or being physically unfit.
The report revealed 27% of potential recruits are too overweight to join the military and many of them are turned away by recruiters. Roughly 15,000 potential recruits failed their entrance physicals because they were overweight or obese. These numbers rose further in the 2022 Pentagon report.23
The 2022 study showed 77% of individuals aged 17 to 24 would not qualify for military service due to being overweight, using drugs or having physical or mental health challenges. Most of the applicants were disqualified for multiple reasons. Major Charlie Dietz, a spokesperson for the Department of Defense, noted that other factors are also involved including a declining veteran population and youth who are more disconnected and disinterested than previous generations.
“The retired admirals and generals of Mission: Readiness recognize that the underlying causes of obesity cannot be solved by the efforts of the military alone,” the Council for a Strong America said in a statement.24
“With an increase in youth being ineligible for military service, it is more important than ever for policymakers, including state and local school boards, to promote healthy eating, increased access to fresh and nutritious foods, and physical activity for children from an early age.”
Adult Obesity Raises Risk for More Health Challenges
Obesity increases the risk of several multiple health conditions in adults,25 including but not limited to high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, respiratory problems, gallstones and gallbladder disease and joint problems.
Obesity is also a leading cause of knee replacements, infertility, liver failure and severe COVID-19. One Australian study26 of 56,217 patients showed that obesity increased the risk of knee replacement surgery. Of the patients who received a knee replacement due to osteoarthritis, 31.9% were overweight and 57.7% were obese.
Obesity also affects male fertility. Research presented at the Endocrine Society’s 2022 annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia,27 revealed that maintaining healthy body weight in childhood could help prevent male infertility later in life.
Children and adolescents who were overweight or obese, or who had high levels of insulin or insulin resistance, tended to have smaller testicles compared to their normal-weight peers with normal insulin levels. According to the study’s lead researcher, “More careful control of body weight in childhood and adolescence may help to maintain testicular function later in life.”
High fructose intake and obesity are also driving factors in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This is the most common chronic liver disease in developed countries28 that results from lifestyle factors, such as diet, exercise, weight management and smoking, and is not related to heavy alcohol use.
In the U.S., 24% of adults have NAFLD, and another study29 presented at the Endocrine Society’s 2022 annual meeting suggested that high fructose consumption was associated with an increased risk of NAFLD. Foods high in fructose, including soda and candy, are associated with obesity and diabetes, which are also associated with NAFLD.
Data has also shown that obesity increases your risk of severe consequences from COVID-19. A July 25, 2021, article30 by Joel Hirschhorn on Trial Site News highlights what he refers to as a “missed public health opportunity.”
Hirschhorn is a full professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a senior official at the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association, and a member of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and America’s Frontline Doctors.
Even though we’ve known for well over a year that obesity is one of the most common and most significant risk factors for COVID-19 (aside from age, which you have no control over), public health authorities have ignored the issue and failed to provide guidance on how to reduce excess weight.
“Would not fighting obesity qualify as a valid prevention approach to curbing the ill effects of the COVID pandemic?” Hirschhorn asks. “Could the reason for the government’s lack of aggressively pursuing an anti-obesity campaign be a bias for promoting vaccines? It seems a likely explanation.”
Conflicts of Interest Obstruct Truthful Nutrition Guidance
Many factors contribute to overweight and obesity challenges, but the primary focus must be on the food and beverages you consume. However, instead of producing healthier products, the food industry develops campaigns designed to increase their profits without regard to your life.
For example, to improve the perception of their product, Coca-Cola created a public relations campaign promoting exercise to fight obesity and argued that their beverages are part of a healthy lifestyle.31 The campaign blamed the growing obesity problem on a lack of exercise in children and adults. Yet, as research has demonstrated, this was a lie since you can never out-exercise a bad diet.
Other factors that contribute to the growing obesity problem is chronic inflammation32 and the endocannabinoid receptors in your brain. One food substance you eat that is related to both factors is linoleic acid (LA). As I have written before, LA is a significant contributor to the inflammatory domino effect that eventually kills.
LA also stimulates the endocannabinoid receptors in your brain that cause an effect similar to the “munchies” people experience after consuming cannabis. Blocking these endocannabinoid receptors was the mechanism the obesity drug Rimonabant used to cause people to lose weight. However, it also caused a significant increase in suicidal depression and was removed from the market, which was a strong illustration of the law of unintended consequences.
Collectively, consuming too much LA is a primary factor driving the overweight and obesity epidemics. The obvious solution? Radically limit PUFA and LA so as not to stimulate the endocannabinoid receptors in the first place. PUFA also impairs mitochondrial function to decrease energy production, along with impairing thyroid function, so there are additional reasons to cut way down on your intake, even if you’re not overweight.
Examples of seed oils high in omega-6 PUFAs include soybean, cottonseed, sunflower, rapeseed (canola), corn and safflower.33 These processed seed oils and vegetable oils get integrated into your cell and mitochondrial membranes, damaging the structures34 and setting the stage for health problems. With a half-life of 680 days,35,36 it can take years to clear them out of your body.
They also get incorporated into tissues such as your heart and brain. One result of this could be memory impairment and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Canola oil, in particular, has been linked to further damage in people with Alzheimer’s disease.37
One thing standing in the way of proper nutrition guidance from the government is also a conflict of interest. In her book, “The Obesity Epidemic: What Caused It? How Can We Stop It?” Zoe Harcombe exposes the fallacy that a calorie isn’t a calorie and explains:
“The UK has something that it calls the Responsibility Deal. We call it the Irresponsibility Deal. It’s actually the stated intent of the government to work with the fake food industry, to try to do something about obesity.
There’s a professor in the UK who said, “You may as well put Dracula in charge of the blood bank.” It really is as crazy as that. I have a little chart [showing] these conflicts of interest. Those are the organizations behind public health dietary advice.”
Reproduced Government Study Shows Cellphones Linked to Tumors
Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published April 10, 2018.
In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified cellphones as a Group 2B “possible carcinogen,”1 and the evidence supporting the theory that electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from cellphones can trigger abnormal cell growth and cancer2,3 just keeps growing and getting stronger.
In February, the findings of two government-funded animal studies4 were published. Curiously enough, the published interpretation of this $ 25 million research (conducted by the National Toxicology Program [NTP], an interagency research program currently under the auspices of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) significantly downplays the actual findings of the studies.
Cellphone Radiation Linked to Brain and Heart Tumors
The NTP research includes two studies: one on mice and one on rats. Male rats were more likely to develop heart tumors, while female rats and newborns exposed to high levels of radiation during pregnancy and lactation were more likely to have low body weight. DNA damage and damage to heart tissue were also observed in both male and female rats, but not mice. Other types of tumors did occur in both types of animals, though, including brain, prostate, liver and pancreatic tumors.
According to the researchers, if these results can be confirmed, then cellphone radiation may indeed be a “weak” carcinogen. As you’ll see below, that confirmation was delivered last month, in the form of published research by the Ramazzini Institute.
The animals in the NTP studies were exposed to cellphone radiation for nine hours a day for two years (basically the full life span of a rat). As noted by The New York Times,5 the heart tumors (malignant schwannomas) found in male rats are “similar to acoustic neuromas, a benign tumor in people involving the nerve that connects the ear to the brain, which some studies have linked to cellphone use.”
The scientists also expressed surprise at the finding of DNA damage, as the conventional belief is that non-ionizing radiofrequency radiation cannot harm DNA. “We don’t feel like we understand enough about the results to be able to place a huge degree of confidence in the findings,” John Bucher, Ph.D.,6 senior scientist at the NTP told reporters. Such statements fly in the face of warnings issued by NTP researchers two years ago.
NTP Whitewashed Its Conclusions
Partial results from these studies were initially released in 2016 because they were deemed too serious to hold back. After all, the health of hundreds of millions of Americans, let along billions of users worldwide, is at stake. At the time, Christopher Portier, Ph.D., retired head of the NTP who was involved in the launch of the study, insisted the findings showed clear causation. “I would call it a causative study, absolutely,” he told Scientific American.7 “They controlled everything in the study.”
David McCormick, Ph.D., director of the Illinois Institute of Technology Research Institute where the study was conducted, was equally clear, telling reporters,8 “What we are saying here is that based on the animal studies, there is a possible risk cellphone RF [radio frequency] is potentially carcinogenic in humans. These are uncommon lesions in rodents, so it is our conclusion that they are exposure related.”
As noted by Microwave News,9 while some of the pathology data was updated since the initial release in 2016, the changes are minor. The interpretation, however, changed dramatically. Now, even though the findings are identical, the NTP insists it’s “not a high-risk situation” and that the risk to human health is negligible.
Microwave News lists a number of possible political reasons for the sudden turnaround, including new NTP leadership, the current White House administration’s disdain for science that threatens big business and the overarching power of the major telecommunications players of today: Apple, Google and Microsoft. There’s no doubt there are incredible amounts of money at stake.
Ramazzini Institute Duplicates NTP Findings
Whatever the reason, it’s quite clear the NTP is now downplaying findings that a mere two years ago were considered of significant importance for public health. The whitewash was made even more obvious with the March 7 online publication of a lifetime exposure study10 by the highly respected Ramazzini Institute in Italy, which like the NTP shows a clear link between cellphone radiation and Schwann cell tumors (schwannomas).11,12,13
But, contrary to the NTP, Ramazzini researchers are now urging the IARC to re-evaluate its carcinogenicity classification for cellphones. According to Fiorella Belpoggi, director of research at the Ramazzini Institute and the study’s lead author, RF radiation from cellphones should probably be classified as a “probable” human carcinogen rather than a “possible” carcinogen. In an interview with Microwave News, Belpoggi said:14
“The [Ramazzini Institute] findings on far field exposure to RFR [radio frequency radiation] are consistent with and reinforce the results of the NTP study on near field exposure, as both reported an increase in the incidence of tumors of the brain and heart in RFR-exposed Sprague-Dawley rats …
The two laboratories worked independently at many thousands of kilometers’ distance, using the same strain of rats, and found the same results. It cannot be by chance.
Both findings are also consistent with the epidemiological evidence, where an increased incidence of tumors of the same cells (Schwann cells) of the acoustic nerve had been associated with the use of mobile phones.
We and NTP have evidenced the hazard of RFR exposure, as regards the risk we have to consider that about seven billion of people are exposed on the planet, and even if the risk is to be considered low, due to the large number of exposed individuals, we could expect thousands of people affected by serious diseases like cancer of the peripheral nerves and brain.”
Indeed, a recent analysis15,16 reveals the incidence of glioblastoma multiforme, the deadliest type of brain tumor, more than doubled in the U.K. between 1995 and 2015. According to the authors, the dramatic increase is likely due to “widespread environmental or lifestyle factors,” which would include cellphone usage.
Véronique Terrasse, spokesperson for the IARC, has stated the organization will look into it once the NTP has delivered its final report,17 which may take several months.
NTP and Ramazzini Show Effects Are Reproducible
The NTP-funded studies found rats exposed to RF radiation began developing glial cell hyperplasias — indicative of precancerous lesions — around week 58; heart schwannomas were detected around week 70. Ramazzini’s study confirms and reinforces these results, showing RF radiation increased both brain and heart tumors in exposed rats. This, despite the fact that Ramazzini used much lower power levels.
While NTP used RF levels comparable to what’s emitted by 2G and 3G cellphones (near-field exposure), Ramazzini simulated exposure to cellphone towers (far-field exposure). In all, the Ramazzini Institute exposed 2,448 rats to 1.8 GHz GSM radiation at electric field strengths of 5, 25 and 50 volts per meter18 for 19 hours a day, starting at birth until the rats died either from age or illness.
To facilitate comparison, the researchers converted their measurements to watts per kilogram of body weight (W/kg), which is what the NTP used. Overall, the radiation dose administered in the Ramazzini study was up to 1,000 times lower than the NTP’s — yet the results were strikingly similar. As in the NTP studies, exposed male rats developed statistically higher rates of heart schwannomas than unexposed rats.
They also found some evidence, although weaker, that RF exposure increased rates of glial tumors in the brains of female rats. As noted by Ronald Melnick, Ph.D., a former senior NIH toxicologist who led the design of the NTP study and current senior science adviser to the Environmental Health Trust:19
“All of the exposures used in the Ramazzini study were below the U.S. FCC limits… In other words, a person can legally be exposed to this level of radiation. Yet cancers occurred in these animals at these legally permitted levels. The Ramazzini findings are consistent with the NTP study demonstrating these effects are a reproducible finding. Governments need to strengthen regulations to protect the public from these harmful non-thermal exposures.”
The NTP’s conclusion that there’s no cause for concern is also challenged by an independent review panel, which concluded its review of the two NTP studies March 28. According to this panel of experts, there’s “clear evidence” linking RF radiation with heart schwannomas and “some evidence” linking it to brain gliomas. It remains to be seen whether the NTP will accept or reject the panel’s conclusions in its final report.
Why Evidence of Rodent Schwannomas Could Spell Trouble
As explained by Louis Slesin, Ph.D., editor and publisher of Microwave News, the increased incidence of schwannomas in rodents exposed to RF is no mere coincidence, and is of great concern for public health:20
“Schwann cells play a key role in the functioning of the peripheral nervous system. They make the myelin sheath, which insulates nerve fibers and helps speed the conduction of electrical impulses. There are Schwann cells just about everywhere there are peripheral nerve fibers. They are present in most organs of the body — whether mice, rats or humans. Schwann cell tumors are called schwannomas.
The NTP found schwannomas in many other organs, in addition to the heart, of rats chronically exposed to cellphone radiation. These included a variety of glands (pituitary, salivary and thymus), the trigeminal nerve and the eye … The NTP also saw schwannomas in the uterus, ovary and vagina of female rats.
The brain has no Schwann cells — the brain is part of the central nervous system. There, glial cells play a similar function. In fact, Schwann cells are a type of glial cell …
Tumors of the glial cells are called gliomas. The NTP also saw an increase in glioma among the male rats exposed to GSM and CDMA radiation. Higher rates of glioma have been reported in a number of epidemiological studies of cellphone users. The other tumor linked to cellphone radiation in human studies is acoustic neuroma, a tumor of the auditory nerve … formally called a vestibular schwannoma.
While schwannomas and gliomas are commonly noncancerous tumors, they can develop into malignant schwannomas or glioblastomas … The implication is that instead of searching for consistency in RF’s ability to cause cancer in specific organs, the emphasis should now be on specific cell types — beginning with Schwann cells in the periphery and glial cells in the brain.”
Mitochondrial Damage Is an Even More Pressing Concern
I believe it would be a serious mistake to consider cellphones safe simply because we’re not seeing a dramatic uptick in brain (and/or heart) tumors. Remember, cellphone radiation has already been acknowledged to be a carcinogen, and most all carcinogens, like cigarette smoking, take decades to increase cancer risk. Cellphones are indeed the cigarettes of the 21st century and we won’t see the epidemic of cancer for another decade or two.
The NTP’s research also reveal DNA and cellular damage. The researchers claim there’s no explanation for this, but that’s far from true. A number of scientists and EMF specialists have presented evidence for a number of different mechanisms of harm. Among them:
• Allan Frey, Office of Naval Research,21 showed cellphone radiation weakens cell membranes and your blood-brain barrier. Some of his experiments demonstrated that dye injected into animals was able to penetrate into the brain when exposed to pulsed digital signals from microwaves.
Today, these findings are particularly notable since cellphones are held close to the brain. The take-home message is that radiation from your cellphone weakens your blood-brain barrier, allowing toxins in your blood to enter your brain, and into the cells of your entire body.
• Martin Pall, Ph.D., has published research22,23,24,25 showing that low−frequency microwave radiation activates voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs)26 — channels in the outer membrane of your cells. Once activated, the VGCCs open up, allowing an abnormal influx of calcium ions into the cell, which activates nitric oxide (NO).
NO is the only molecule in your body produced at high enough concentrations to outcompete other molecules for superoxide and is a precursor for peroxynitrite.27
These potent oxidant stressors are thought to be a root cause for many of today’s chronic diseases.28 Peroxynitrites modify tyrosine molecules in proteins to create a new substance, nitrotyrosine and nitration of structural protein.29 Changes from nitration are visible in human biopsy of atherosclerosis, myocardial ischemia, inflammatory bowel disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and septic lung disease.30
Significant oxidative stress from peroxynitrites may also result in single-strand breaks of DNA.31 This pathway of oxidative destruction — triggered by low-frequency radiation emitted from mobile devices — may partially explain the unprecedented growth rate of chronic disease since 1990,32 and is a far greater concern than brain tumors.
According to Pall’s theory, the physical locations where VGCCs are the densest are indicative of the diseases you might expect from chronic excessive exposure to EMFs. As it turns out, the highest density of VGCCs are found in your nervous system, the pacemaker in your heart and in male testes. As a result, EMFs are likely to contribute to neurological and neuropsychiatric problems, heart and reproductive problems.
• Paul Héroux, Ph.D., professor of toxicology and health effects of electromagnetism at the faculty of medicine at McGill University in Montreal, stresses the impact EMFs have on the water in your body. The mechanism of action he proposes involves the enzyme ATP synthase, which passes currents of protons through a water channel.
ATP synthase basically generates energy in the form ATP from ADP, using this flow of protons. Magnetic fields can change the transparency of the water channel to protons, thereby reducing the current. As a result, you get less ATP, which can have system wide consequences, from promoting chronic disease and infertility to lowering intelligence.
Will Findings Affect 5G Rollout?
We’re now facing the rollout of high-speed wireless 5G technology across the U.S. How might the NTP and Ramazzini findings affect this transition? According to Melnick,33 “It should most likely lead to a reduction in exposure limits.” He also hopes the findings will compel public officials and telecommunications companies to not promote the use of 5G devices for children.
In a recent investigative report for The Nation, Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie reveals “the disinformation campaign — and massive radiation increase — behind the 5G rollout.”34
The evidence for harm goes back more than two decades. By early 1999, findings from more than 50 studies were already raising “‘serious questions’ about cellphone safety.” This evidence was shared in a closed-door meeting of CTIA’s board of directors, which is the trade association for the wireless industry.
Epidemiologist George Carlo, hired by CTIA in 1993 to defuse concerns about cellphone radiation, was unable to give the industry the clear evidence of safety it desired. Instead he found the converse. Among this evidence was findings of “correlation between brain tumors occurring on the right side of the head and the use of the phone on the right side of the head.”
Research also suggested that cellphone radiation was capable of causing “functional genetic damage.” Carlo urged the telecom industry to “do the right thing: Give consumers ‘the information they need to make an informed judgment about how much of this unknown risk they wish to assume,’ especially since some in the industry had ‘repeatedly and falsely claimed that wireless phones are safe for all consumers including children.'”
Safety Has Taken a Backseat to Profit
The reason nothing ever came of Carlos’ investigation is because the CTIA refused to accept the findings and publicly discredited him for doing the work he’d been paid to do in the first place. In 1999, wireless technologies were nowhere near as ubiquitous as they are today. Now, the stakes are higher than ever, and there can be little doubt that profit is still weighing heavier than science.
“This Nation investigation reveals that the wireless industry not only made the same moral choices that the tobacco and fossil-fuel industries did; it also borrowed from the same public-relations playbook those industries pioneered.
The playbook’s key insight is that an industry doesn’t have to win the scientific argument about safety; it only has to keep the argument going. That amounts to a win for the industry, because the apparent lack of certainty helps to reassure customers, even as it fends off government regulations and lawsuits that might pinch profits,” Hertsgaard and Dowie write.35
“Funding friendly research has perhaps been the most important component of this strategy, because it conveys the impression that the scientific community truly is divided …
The wireless industry has obstructed a full and fair understanding of the current science, aided by government agencies that have prioritized commercial interests over human health and news organizations that have failed to inform the public about what the scientific community really thinks.”
5G Will Dramatically Increase Radiation Exposure
The transition to 5G will dramatically increase RF-EMF radiation exposure as it will require the installation of small antennas every 250 feet or so to ensure connectivity. Some estimates suggest millions of new antenna sites will have to be erected in the U.S. alone.
In September last year, more than 180 doctors and scientists from 35 countries signed a petition36 to enact a moratorium on the rollout of 5G due to potential health risks, noting that “RF-EMF has been proven to be harmful for humans and the environment.” The petition also points out that:
“5G technology is effective only over short distance. It is poorly transmitted through solid material. Many new antennas will be required and full-scale implementation will result in antennas in every 10 to 12 houses in urban areas, thus massively increasing mandatory exposure …
More than 230 scientists from 41 countries have expressed their ‘serious concerns’ regarding the ubiquitous and increasing exposure to EMF generated by electric and wireless devices already before the additional 5G roll-out …
Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plants and animals.”
Protect Yourself From Excessive EMF
There’s no doubt in my mind that RF-EMF exposure is a significant health hazard that needs to be addressed if you’re concerned about your health, and the roll-out of 5G would certainly make remedial action all the more difficult. Late last year, California governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill to establish statewide standards for 5G networks.37
Senate Bill 649 sought to restrict the ability of local government to block antenna placement, which led to opposition from local officials across the state. Brown decided to let local leaders have control over 5G infrastructure. In time, we’ll likely see similar legislation in other states, so keep your eyes and ears open, and be sure to get involved whenever an opportunity presents itself. In the meantime, here are several suggestions that will help reduce your RF-EMF exposure:
Connect your desktop computer to the internet via a wired Ethernet connection and be sure to put your desktop in airplane mode. Also avoid wireless keyboards, trackballs, mice, game systems, printers and portable house phones. Opt for the wired versions.
If you must use Wi-Fi, shut it off when not in use, especially at night when you are sleeping. Ideally, work toward hardwiring your house so you can eliminate Wi-Fi altogether. If you have a notebook without any Ethernet ports, a USB Ethernet adapter will allow you to connect to the internet with a wired connection.
Shut off the electricity to your bedroom at night. This typically works to reduce electrical fields from the wires in your wall unless there is an adjoining room next to your bedroom. If that is the case you will need to use a meter to determine if you also need to turn off power in the adjacent room.
Use a battery-powered alarm clock, ideally one without any light. I use a talking clock for the visually impaired.38
If you still use a microwave oven, consider replacing it with a steam convection oven, which will heat your food as quickly and far more safely.
Avoid using “smart” appliances and thermostats that depend on wireless signaling. This would include all new “smart” TVs. They are called smart because they emit a Wi-Fi signal and, unlike your computer, you cannot shut the Wi-Fi signal off. Consider using a large computer monitor as your TV instead, as they don’t emit Wi-Fi.
Refuse smart meters as long as you can, or add a shield to an existing smart meter, some of which have been shown to reduce radiation by 98 to 99%.39
Consider moving your baby’s bed into your room instead of using a wireless baby monitor. Alternatively, use a hard-wired monitor.
Replace CFL bulbs with incandescent bulbs. Ideally remove all fluorescent lights from your house. Not only do they emit unhealthy light, but more importantly, they will actually transfer current to your body just being close to the bulbs.
Avoid carrying your cellphone on your body unless in airplane mode and never sleep with it in your bedroom unless it is in airplane mode. Even in airplane mode it can emit signals, which is why I put my phone in a Faraday bag.40
When using your cellphone, use the speaker phone and hold the phone at least 3 feet away from you. Seek to radically decrease your time on the cellphone. I typically use my cellphone less than 30 minutes a month, and mostly when traveling. Instead, use VoIP software phones that you can use while connected to the internet via a wired connection.
Opioid Crisis — A Result of Poverty, Availability and Pain
Editor’s Note: This article is a reprint. It was originally published January 16, 2020.
In recent years, the devastating effects of wanton opioid use have become unmistakable, with opioid overdoses killing 47,600 Americans in 2017 alone.1 As of June 2017, opioids became the leading cause of death among Americans under the age of 50,2 and President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency that year in October.3,4
I’ve written many previous articles detailing the background of how the U.S. ended up here. While the opioid crisis was largely manufactured by drug companies hell-bent on maximizing profits, leading to exaggerated and even fraudulent claims about the drugs’ safety profile, the increased availability of opioids isn’t the sole cause.
A Perfect Storm of Poverty, Trauma, Availability and Pain
As noted in a January 2020 article5 in The Atlantic, “researchers … say opioid addiction looks like the result of a perfect storm of poverty, trauma, availability and pain.”
Commenting on some of the research cited in that article, David Powell, senior economist at Rand, told The Atlantic that to produce the most lethal drug epidemic America has ever seen “you need a huge rise in opioid access, in a way that misuse is easy, but you also need demand to misuse the product.”6
Poverty and pain, both physical and emotional, fuel misuse. If economic stress or physical pain (or both) is a factor in your own situation, please be mindful that seeking escape through opioid use can easily lead to a lethal overdose. The risk of death is magnified fivefold if you’re also using benzodiazepine-containing drugs.
The Hidden Influence of Poverty and Trauma
Several investigations seeking to gain insight into the causes fueling the opioid epidemic have been conducted in recent years. The findings reveal common trends where emotional, physical and societal factors have conspired to bring us to the point where we are today.
Among them is a 2019 study7 in the Medical Care Research Review journal, which looked at the effects of state-level economic conditions — unemployment rates, median house prices, median household income, insurance coverage and average hours of weekly work — on drug overdose deaths between 1999 and 2014. According to the authors:8
“Drug overdose deaths significantly declined with higher house prices … by nearly 0.17 deaths per 100,000 (~4%) with a $ 10,000 increase in median house price. House price effects were more pronounced and only significant among males, non-Hispanic Whites, and individuals younger 45 years.
Other economic indicators had insignificant effects. Our findings suggest that economic downturns that substantially reduce house prices such as the Great Recession can increase opioid-related deaths, suggesting that efforts to control access to such drugs should especially intensify during these periods.”
Similarly, an earlier investigation, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy in 2017,9 connected economic recessions and unemployment with rises in illegal drug use among adults.
Twenty-eight studies published between 1990 and 2015 were included in the review, 17 of which found that the psychological distress associated with economic recessions and unemployment was a significant factor. According to the authors:10
“The current evidence is in line with the hypothesis that drug use increases in times of recession because unemployment increases psychological distress which increases drug use. During times of recession, psychological support for those who lost their job and are vulnerable to drug use (relapse) is likely to be important.”
Abuse-related trauma is also linked to unemployment and financial stress, and that too can increase your risk of drug use and addiction. As noted in The Atlantic,11 when the coal mining industry in northeastern Pennsylvania collapsed, leaving many locals without job prospects, alcohol use increased, as did child abuse. Many of these traumatized children, in turn, sought relief from the turmoil and ended up becoming addicted to opioids.
Free Trade Effects Implicated in Opioid Crisis
Another 2019 study12 published in Population Health reviewed the links between free trade and deaths from opioid use between 1999 and 2015, finding that “Job loss due to international trade is positively associated with opioid overdose mortality at the county level,” and that this association was most significant in areas where fentanyl was present in the heroin supply.
Overall, for each 1,000 people who lost their jobs due to international trade — commonly due to factory shutdowns — there was a 2.7% increase in opioid-related deaths. Where fentanyl was available, that percentage rose to 11.3%. The study “contributes to debates in the social sciences concerning the negative consequences of free trade,” the authors note, adding:
“Scholars have long focused on the positive effect of international trade on the overall economy, while also noting that it causes layoffs and bankruptcy for some groups.
Recent influential work by Autor, Dorn, and Hanson demonstrates that these negative impacts of trade are actually highly localized, with layoffs, unemployment, and lower wages concentrated in specific labor markets.
This study furthers our understanding of the local consequences of international trade by looking beyond wages and employment levels to the potential impact on opioid-related overdose death.”
Opioid Makers Have Had a Direct Impact
The National Bureau of Economic Research has also contributed to the discussion with the working paper13 “Origins of the Opioid Crisis and Its Enduring Impacts,” issued November 2019.
In it, they highlight “the role of the 1996 introduction and marketing of OxyContin as a potential leading cause of the opioid crisis,” showing that in states where triplicate prescription programs were implemented, OxyContin distribution rates were half that of states that did not have such programs.
“Triplicate prescription programs” refers to a drug-monitoring program requiring doctors to use a special prescription pad whenever they prescribed controlled substances. One of the copies of each prescription written had to be submitted to a state monitoring agency.
Since it involved additional work, many doctors avoided prescribing drugs requiring the use of triplicates, and as a consequence, Purdue (the maker of OxyContin), did not market its opioid as aggressively in those states.
The fact that triplicate prescription states had lower rates of lethal overdoses led the authors to conclude “that the introduction and marketing of OxyContin explain a substantial share of overdose deaths over the last two decades.”
According to this paper, death rates from opioid overdoses could have been reduced by 44% between 1996 and 2017 had triplicate prescriptions been implemented in nontriplicate states.
Importantly, the relationship between triplicate prescription programs and opioid overdose deaths held true even when economic conditions were taken into account, which shows that poverty alone did not contribute to the opioid crisis — aggressive marketing to doctors and the ease with which patients could get the drugs were an inescapable part of the problem.
Pain as a Source of Addiction
Naturally, physical pain is also a driving force behind the opioid epidemic, especially the inappropriate treatment of back pain with opioids and dentists’ habit of prescribing narcotics after wisdom tooth extractions.14,15
(While American family doctors prescribe an estimated 15% of all immediate-release opioids — the type most likely to be abused — dentists are not far behind, being responsible for 12% of prescriptions, according to a 2011 paper16 in the Journal of the American Dental Association.)
Statistics17 suggest 8 in 10 American adults will be affected by back pain at some point in their life, and low-back pain is one of the most common reasons for an opioid prescription.18 This despite the fact that there’s no evidence supporting their use for this kind of pain. On the contrary, non-opioid treatment for back pain has been shown to be more effective.19
Research20 published in 2018 found opioids (including morphine, Vicodin, oxycodone and fentanyl) fail to control moderate to severe pain any better than over-the-counter (OTC) drugs such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen, yet most insurance companies still favor opioids when it comes to reimbursement, which makes them culpable for sustaining the opioid crisis, even as doctors and patients try to navigate away from them.
As noted by Dave Chase, author of “The Opioid Crisis Wake-Up Call: Health Care Is Stealing the American Dream. Here’s How to Take It Back,” in an article for Stat:21
“Our entire health care system is built on a vast web of incentives that push patients down the wrong paths. And in most cases it’s the entities that manage the money — insurance carriers — that benefit from doing so …
An estimated 700,000 people are likely to die from opioid overdoses between 2015 and 2025,22 making it absolutely essential to understand the connections between insurance carriers, health plans, employers, the public, and the opioid crisis.
We will never get out of this mess unless we stop addiction before it starts … the opioid crisis isn’t an anomaly. It’s a side effect of our health care system.”
According to the American College of Physicians’ guidelines,23 heat, massage, acupuncture or chiropractic adjustments should be used as first-line treatments for back pain. Other key treatments for back pain include exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, tai chi, yoga, relaxation, biofeedback, low-level laser therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
When drugs are desired, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or muscle relaxants should be used. Opioids “should only be considered if other treatments are unsuccessful and when the potential benefits outweigh the risks for an individual patient,” according to the American College of Physicians’ guideline.24
Struggling With Opioid Addiction? Please Seek Help
It’s vitally important to realize that opioids are extremely addictive drugs that are not meant for long-term use for nonfatal conditions. Chemically, opioids are similar to heroin, so if you wouldn’t consider using heroin for a toothache or backache, seriously reconsider taking an opioid to relieve these types of pain.
If you’ve been on an opioid for more than two months, or if you find yourself taking a higher dosage, or taking the drug more often, you may already be addicted. Resources where you can find help include the following. You can also learn more in “How to Wean Off Opioids.”
- Your workplace Employee Assistance Program
- The Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration25 can be contacted 24 hours a day at 1-800-622-HELP
Nondrug Pain Relief
The good news is that many types of pain can be treated entirely without drugs. Recommendations by Harvard Medical School26,27 and the British National Health Service28 include the following. You can find more detailed information about most of these techniques in “13 Mind-Body Techniques That Can Help Ease Pain and Depression.”
Physical therapy or occupational therapy
Distracting yourself with an enjoyable activity
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule
Mind-body techniques such as controlled breathing, meditation, guided imagery and mindfulness practice that encourage relaxation. One of my personal favorites is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
Yoga and tai chi
Practicing gratitude and positive thinking
Hot or cold packs
In “Billionaire Opioid Executive Stands to Make Millions More on Patent for Addiction Treatment,” I discuss several additional approaches — including helpful supplements and dietary changes — that can be used separately or in combination with the strategies listed above to control both acute and chronic pain.
IFCO achieves 2 billion reusable packaging shipment milestone enabling customer environmental savings
Munich, Germany, February 16, 2023: IFCO, the world’s leading provider of Reusable Packaging Containers (RPCs) delivered over 2 billion reusable packaging shipments of fresh produce, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, bread, and other fresh grocery products during 2022. With a circular economy business model based on share-reduce-reuse principles, IFCO enabled its supply chain customers to achieve substantial environmental savings.
In comparison with single-use packaging alternatives, IFCO RPCs reduce carbon emissions, water and energy usage, solid and food waste generation, and timber consumption. By sharing and reusing IFCO RPCs across global fresh product supply chains, in 2022 IFCO customers saved:
• 614,072 metric tons of CO2e – equivalent to driving to the moon 8,900 times
• 11.8 million cubic meters of water – equivalent to 4,736 Olympic sized pools
• 42,214 terajoules of electricity – enough to power over 5.2 million electric vehicles for a year
• 339,116 metric tons of solid waste – equivalent to 41,535 truckloads of waste
• 55,140 metric tons of food product waste – equivalent to over 88 million meals
IFCO calculates and quantifies these science-based savings through independent Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) scientific studies and awards customers with their portion of the savings through annual environmental savings certificates. These certificates help fresh food growers, producers, and retail customers quantify the environmental benefits of IFCO´s solutions and how these contribute to their own sustainability KPIs.
“Two billion trips at a global scale is a monumental accomplishment. The magnitude of the environmental savings created through our circular business model reflect IFCO’s ability to achieve our purpose of making the fresh grocery supply chain sustainable and our capacity to enable our customers to achieve their own sustainability goals.”, says Michael Pooley, CEO of IFCO.
In recognition of its efforts in managing their ESG program, IFCO has recently been recognized by Sustainalytics, a leading independent ESG Risk Rating Agency, as a 2023 ESG Top-Rated Company in Europe.
 Environmental savings are calculated based on the following external studies:
“Carbon Footprint of Food Packaging” conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP), peer-reviewed in accordance with the international standards on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) ISO 14040/44,
“Determination of spoilage levels of fresh fruit and vegetables according to the type of packaging” conducted by Fraunhofer Institute for Logistics and Material flow.
“Comparative life cycle assessment of reusable plastic containers and display- and non-display-ready corrugated containers used for fresh produce applications” conducted by Franklin Associates, peer-reviewed in accordance with the international standards on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) ISO14040/14044,
Conversion factors are sourced from various well recognized organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency
Picture material is available under: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/bv64yohkts9oex2sq0j1f/h?dl=0&rlkey=21zd27zl7x0ub4djvdsln0x70
For more information, contact:
Vice President, ESG and Strategic Marketing
IFCO is the leading global provider of reusable packaging solutions for fresh foods, serving customers in 50+ countries. IFCO operates a pool of over 370 million Reusable Packaging Containers (RPCs) globally, which are used for 2 billion shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, bread, and other items from suppliers to grocery retailers every year. IFCO RPCs ensure a better fresh food supply chain by protecting freshness and quality and lowering costs, food waste and environmental impact compared to single-use packaging. More: www.ifco.com | Follow us on LinkedIn @IFCO SYSTEMS
Will Google’s Social Credit System Determine Your Future?
You may have heard about China’s social credit system — a dystopian monitoring scheme focused on the moral dimension of human life and behavior — which was conceived in 2014 and rolled out in in earnest in 2018. As reported by Business Insider in October that year:1
“Like private credit scores, a person’s social score can move up and down depending on their behavior. The exact methodology is a secret — but examples of infractions include bad driving, smoking in non-smoking zones, buying too many video games and posting fake news online.
China has already started punishing people by restricting their travel. Nine million people with low scores have been blocked from buying tickets for domestic flights …
They can also clamp down on luxury options — three million people are barred from getting business-class train tickets. The eventual system will punish bad passengers specifically. Potential misdeeds include trying to ride with no ticket, loitering in front of boarding gates, or smoking in no-smoking areas.”
Aside from impeding your ability to travel, an individual’s punishment for “bad behavior” per the social credit system can also result in slower internet speed, being banned from attending certain schools or getting a higher education, being barred from certain types of employment, confiscation of pets and, of course, public shaming.2
Google Makes Orwellian Surveillance Easy
In the bitchute video above, Truthstream Media details how this kind of public “trustworthiness” scoring can alter the way people behave — indeed their view of reality itself, and the vast data mining required for the system to work. As noted in the video:
“Social credit scores award or remove points based on behavior. It’s Big Data meets Big Brother. This will be a world with no more personal experiences, only transactions for the social credit system.
This [the system] knows every person, every bike, every car, every bus. That’s because it essentially turns every public interaction into a transaction where points can be earned or lost.”
Google, of course, is a perfect fit for this kind of Orwellian surveillance scheme. It is, by far, the largest monopoly the world has ever seen, and its data-siphoning tentacles reach deep into our everyday lives, collecting data on every move you make and conversation you have, whether online or in the real world.
Google actually tracks your movements online, even when you don’t think you are using their products. Most websites you visit use the ‘free’ Google Analytics program to track everything you do on a website. Google purchased Urchin Software back in 2005, and by giving it away were able to integrate this important surveillance tool into most of the internet.
Google Analytics integrates with Google’s ad network monopoly, as well as the largest email service Gmail. These systems are not free, they are a tightly integrated package of surveillance tools – selling your data, selling ads served to you, and manipulating content to direct your behavior.
These tools collect data along with other Google products like the Android ‘smart’ phones, the Nest home security system, and even Google’s Home Assistant. You can expect these surveillance products to become free over time as the absolute goal is to exploit every bit of data they can collect from you.
A 2015 Wired article3 revealed some of the details of how Google’s online empire is built, noting “One of the company’s cluster switches provides about 40 terabits per second of bandwidth — the equivalent of 40 million home internet connections,” and “Google now sends more information between its data centers than it trades with the internet as a whole.”
As highlighted in a January 27, 2020, article4 by The Intercept, smart camera networks equipped with facial recognition and video analytic software will advance global surveillance even further, and should be banned to prevent an inevitable slide into invisible yet all-encompassing authoritarianism.
“The rise of all-seeing smart camera networks is an alarming development that threatens civil rights and liberties throughout the world.
Law enforcement agencies have a long history of using surveillance against marginalized communities, and studies show surveillance chills freedom of expression — ill effects that could spread as camera networks grow larger and more sophisticated,” The Intercept notes.5
Silicon Valley Is Building America’s Social Credit System
According to Fast Company,6 China’s social credit system is not entirely unique. “A parallel system is developing in the United States, in part as the result of Silicon Valley and technology-industry user policies, and in part by surveillance of social media activity by private companies,” Fast Company writes.7
For example, life insurance companies can now use content shared in social media posts to determine your premium. “That Instagram pic showing you teasing a grizzly bear at Yellowstone with a martini in one hand, a bucket of cheese fries in the other, and a cigarette in your mouth, could cost you,” Fast Company notes.8
PatronScan is another example. These devices are used by restaurants to identify fake IDs and undesirable customers — people previously removed from an establishment for causing a fight, committing sexual assault, stealing or doing drugs.
The list is shared among PatronScan customers, so getting banned in one bar or restaurant effectively bans you from all bars and restaurants in the U.S., Canada and U.K. for up to one year. For additional examples, see the original Fast Company article.9
The Expansion of Public Video Surveillance
Many TV’s now have a camera and can be used to record your emotions while watching presidential debates or the evening news. The Intercept article10 cited earlier goes on to detail the rise and expansion of video surveillance, starting with Axis Communications’ internet-enabled surveillance camera, launched in the late ’90s, to more modern video management systems that organize all this visual data into databases.
By the end of 2021, the marketing firm IHS Markit predicts 1 billion cameras will be watching public movements across the globe. As if that’s not enough, cities are also inviting residents and businesses to plug their private surveillance cameras into their police network, which expands the system even further.
According to The Intercept, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, New York City and Atlanta have all deployed these types of “plug-in surveillance networks,” and many others are considering it as well. To actually make sense of all this footage, video analytic software and artificial intelligence (AI) are used.
Video analytic capabilities include “fight detection, motion recognition, fall detection, loitering, dog walking, jaywalking, toll fare evasion and even lie detection,” The Intercept reports.11
Object recognition and “anomalous or unusual behavior detection” are also used to flag particular incidents that are then reviewed by human eyes. The Intercept recounts how this information can be used by law enforcement to identify potential crime situations:
“In Connecticut, police have used video analytics to identify or monitor known or suspected drug dealers.
Sergeant Johnmichael O’Hare, former Director of the Hartford Real-Time Crime Center, recently demonstrated how BriefCam helped Hartford police reveal ‘where people go the most’ in the space of 24 hours by viewing footage condensed and summarized in just nine minutes.
Using a feature called ‘pathways,’ he discovered hundreds of people visiting just two houses on the street and secured a search warrant to verify that they were drug houses.”
Is a ‘Pre-Crime’ Department Next?
Companies are also working on searchable databases that can access and make sense of visual data from a range of different platforms, which will “supercharge the ability to search and surveil public spaces,” The Intercept says.12
What’s more, there are now proposals suggesting all of this data, in combination with AI-enabled analytics systems, could be used for “predictive policing” as illustrated in the 2002 movie “Minority Report,” where suspected perpetrators are arrested before actually committing the crime.
Sound too crazy to be true? The Intercept cites a 2018 document13 by the data storage firm Western Digital and the consulting company Accenture, “Value of Data: Seeing What Matters — A New Paradigm for Public Safety Powered by Responsible AI,” which predicts smart surveillance networks may be deployed “across three tiers of maturity.”
The first tier is where we’re at now, where law enforcement use CCTV networks to investigate crimes after they’ve already occurred.
At the second tier level, predicted to be in place by 2025, municipalities will be transformed into fully connected “smart cities,” where the cameras of businesses and public institutions are all plugged into a government-run AI-enabled analytics system. The third tier, predicted by 2035, will have predictive capabilities. As reported by The Intercept:14
“A ‘public safety ecosystem’ will centralize data ‘pulled from disparate databases such as social media, driver’s licenses, police databases, and dark data.’ An AI-enabled analytics unit will let police assess ‘anomalies in real time and interrupt a crime before it is committed.’ That is to say, to catch pre-crime.”
Google’s Ad Network Monopoly
Google’s monopoly goes well beyond web search. It also has a potentially dangerous monopoly on online advertising. In 2007, Google bought DoubleClick, which already dominated the digital advertising market. As reported by InfoWorld:15
“Here’s the danger: Google already knows a tremendous amount about the traffic it sends to individual Web sites — where it comes from, what people are looking for, even some basic demographics.
With DoubleClick in the fold, they will also know what ads are being served on any given page. That gives Google unprecedented insight into publishers’ business. And remember, those publishers may be partners, but they are also competitors, often trying to woo the same advertisers as Google.
Web sites live and die based upon ad revenue and on charging advertisers a certain rate based upon the number of pages served and the quality of their readership/user base. I could imagine a not-entirely-paranoid fantasy in which Google can run the numbers, turn around, and offer better rates to advertisers for a similar audience.”
To learn more of Google’s surveillance of you and those you love, please view my comprehensive interview with Robert Epstein below. Epstein, former editor-in-chief at Psychology Today, is now a senior research psychologist for the American Institute of Behavioral Research and Technology, where for the last decade he has helped expose Google’s manipulative and deceptive practices.
Google Goes After Your Health Data
More recently, it’s also become apparent Google is going after everyone’s health data. Fitbit, which was recently purchased by Google, will provide them with all your physiological information and activity levels, in addition to everything else that Google already has on you.
As discussed in “How Google Is Stealing Your Personal Health Data,” Google, Amazon and Microsoft also collect data entered into health and diagnostic sites, which is then shared with hundreds of third parties — and this data is not anonymized, meaning it’s tied specifically to you, without your knowledge or consent.
In other words, DoubleClick, Google’s ad service, will know which prescriptions you’ve searched for on Drugs.com, for example, thus providing you with personalized drug ads. “There is a whole system that will seek to take advantage of you because you’re in a compromised state,” Tim Libert, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University told Financial Times.16
Google and various tech startups have even been investigating the possibility of assessing mental health problems using a combination of electronic medical records and tracking your internet and social media use.
Undisclosed data mining is also occurring in hospitals. A whistleblower recently revealed Google amassed health data from millions of Americans in 21 states through its Project Nightingale, and patients have not been informed of this data mining.17,18 As reported by The Guardian:19
“The secret scheme … involves the transfer to Google of healthcare data held by Ascension, the second-largest healthcare provider in the U.S. The data is being transferred with full personal details including name and medical history and can be accessed by Google staff. Unlike other similar efforts it has not been made anonymous though a process of removing personal information known as de-identification …”
According to Google and Ascension, the data being shared will be used to build a search tool with machine-learning algorithms that will spit out diagnostic recommendations and suggestions for medications that health professionals can then use to guide them in their treatment.
Google claims only a limited number of individuals will have access to the data, but just how trustworthy is Google these days? Since the data includes full personal details, sooner or later, they’re likely to find a way to use it.
Google and Mastercard Track Your Purchasing Habits
Your credit card data, which at first glance would appear completely separate from Google, is also being used by the internet giant to customize ads. As reported by Bloomberg20 August 31, 2018, four unnamed insiders, three of whom claim to have been directly involved in the negotiations, claim Google and Mastercard brokered a business alliance that gives Google access to Mastercard users’ retail spending.
The two companies never made the agreement public, though. Christine Bannan, counsel with the advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) told Bloomberg:21
“People don’t expect what they buy physically in a store to be linked to what they are buying online. There’s just far too much burden that companies place on consumers and not enough responsibility being taken by companies to inform users what they’re doing and what rights they have.”
According to Google, Mastercard users can opt out of ad tracking using Google’s online Web & App Activity console.22 The question is, how would users know to do that when they were never told such tracking was occurring in the first place?
Google’s Store Sales Measurement service also suggests it’s not just Mastercard users that are being tracked. As noted by Bloomberg, when Google announced the new sales measurement service in 2017, it claimed it had access to about 70% of U.S. credit and debit card sales.
To have any chance of protecting your privacy, you simply must avoid Google products, as they account for the greatest personal data leaks in your life. To that end, Mercola.com is now Google-free. We do not use Google Analytics, Google ads or Google search for internal searches. To boycott Google, be sure to ditch or replace:
• Gmail, as every email you write is permanently stored. It becomes part of your profile and is used to build digital models of you, which allows them to make predictions about your line of thinking and every want and desire.
Many other older email systems such as AOL and Yahoo are also being used as surveillance platforms in the same way as Gmail. ProtonMail.com, which uses end-to-end encryption, is a great alternative and the basic account is free.
• Google’s Chrome browser, as everything you do on there is surveilled, including keystrokes and every webpage you’ve ever visited. Brave is a great alternative that takes privacy seriously.
Brave is also faster than Chrome, and suppresses ads. It’s based on Chromium, the same software code that Chrome is based on, so you can easily transfer your extensions, favorites and bookmarks.
• Google search engine, or any extension of Google, such as Bing or Yahoo, both of which draw search results from Google. The same goes for the iPhone’s personal assistant Siri, which draws all of its answers from Google.
Alternative search engines include SwissCows and Qwant. Avoid StartPage, as it was recently bought by an aggressive online marketing company, which, like Google, depends on surveillance.
• Android cellphones, which run on a Google-owned operating system, can track you even when you’re not connected to the internet, whether you have geo tracking enabled or not. Blackberry is more secure than Android phones or the iPhone. Blackberry’s upcoming model, the Key3, may be one of the most secure cellphones in the world.
• Google Home devices, as they record everything that occurs in your home or office, both speech and sounds such as brushing your teeth and boiling water, even when they appear to be inactive, and send that information back to Google. Android phones are also always listening and recording, as are Google’s home thermostat Nest, and Amazon’s Alexa.
Additional Privacy Tips
In my recent interview (above) with Epstein, he also offered the following guidance for those seeking to protect their online privacy:
• Use a virtual private network (VPN) such as Nord, which is only about $ 3 per month and can be used on up to six devices. In my view, this is a must if you seek to preserve your privacy. Epstein explains:
“When you use your mobile phone, laptop or desktop in the usual way, your identity is very easy for Google and other companies to see. They can see it via your IP address, but more and more, there are much more sophisticated ways now that they know it’s you. One is called browser fingerprinting.
This is something that is so disturbing. Basically, the kind of browser you have and the way you use your browser is like a fingerprint. You use your browser in a unique way, and just by he way you type, these companies now can instantly identify you.
Brave has some protection against a browser fingerprinting, but you really need to be using a VPN. What a VPN does is it routes whatever you’re doing through some other computer somewhere else. It can be anywhere in the world, and there are hundreds of companies offering VPN services. The one I like the best right now is called Nord VPN.
You download the software, install it, just like you install any software. It’s incredibly easy to use. You do not have to be a techie to use Nord, and it shows you a map of the world and you basically just click on a country.
The VPN basically makes it appear as though your computer is not your computer. It basically creates a kind of fake identity for you, and that’s a good thing. Now, very often I will go through Nord’s computers in the United States. Sometimes you have to do that, or you can’t get certain things done. PayPal doesn’t like you to be in a foreign country for example.”
Nord, when used on your cellphone, will also mask your identity when using apps like Google Maps.
• Clear your cache and cookies — As Epstein explains in his article:23
“Companies and hackers of all sorts are constantly installing invasive computer code on your computers and mobile devices, mainly to keep an eye on you but sometimes for more nefarious purposes.
On a mobile device, you can clear out most of this garbage by going to the settings menu of your browser, selecting the ‘privacy and security’ option and then clicking on the icon that clears your cache and cookies.
With most laptop and desktop browsers, holding down three keys simultaneously — CTRL, SHIFT and DEL — takes you directly to the relevant menu; I use this technique multiple times a day without even thinking about it. You can also configure the Brave and Firefox browsers to erase your cache and cookies automatically every time you close your browser.”
• Don’t use Fitbit, as it was recently purchased by Google and will provide them with all your physiological information and activity levels, in addition to everything else that Google already has on you.
Newly established company to promote Mainz as hub for life science and biotechnology now operational and supporting the city of Mainz
- “biomindz Standortentwicklungsgesellschaft Mainz GmbH i.G.” owned by the City of Mainz as a 100% subsidiary of city’s holding company “Zentrale Beteiligungsgesellschaft der Stadt Mainz mbH” (ZBM)
- Established with goal of supporting Mainz as the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate in its transformation into an internationally recognised hub for biotechnology
- ZBM’s project team transferred to the new company, with Felix Wälder as Managing Director
- Mainz to be positioned and marketed on international level under “biomindz – Life Science Hub Mainz” brand
- Website goes live at www.biomindz.com, providing extensive information and points of contact
(skh) At the beginning of February the ‘biomindz Standortentwicklungsgesellschaft Mainz mbH i.G.’ (biomindz GmbH i.G.) was founded. The formal establishment of the company therefore lays the groundwork for biomindz GmbH i.G. to commence its activities. As a wholly owned subsidiary of “Zentrale Beteiligungsgesellschaft der Stadt Mainz mbH” (ZBM), the city’s holding company, biomindz GmbH i.G. is also owned and managed by the city of Mainz. The existing team at ZBM, which had been specifically recruited to support the city’s development into a biotechnology hub, will now be transferred to the new company and will continue its activities there. Felix Wälder, who was previously a general manager at ZBM, has been appointed as Managing Director of the new organisation. Setting up a dedicated company to support the transformation of the city into an international hub for life sciences and biotechnology enables the city to bundle all related promotional activities under one roof.
Günter Beck, the Mayor of Mainz, explains that the creation of the new organisation is the logical next step in the city’s ongoing strategic development: “Thanks to the success of BioNTech, in particular, Mainz has attracted worldwide attention as a hub for life sciences and biotechnology. This achievement was further underscored in 2022 when Mainz ranked second in the European Commission’s European Capital of Innovation Awards. We want to capitalise on this momentum and drive the successful evolution of the city as a hub for research and development. In 2021, we paved the way for this process. The project team recruited at ZBM last year as well as the biotechnology coordination unit in the office of the Lord Mayor have made an outstanding contribution in laying the groundwork for the future. The findings of the detailed needs analysis that our staff oversaw were subsequently used as a basis for determining the precise scope of our ongoing activities. Now, the logical next step is to pursue these initiatives with a clear focus within a dedicated organisation. This also aligns with Mainz’s aspirations, as the state capital of Rhineland-Palatinate, to develop the city into an internationally recognised and successful hub for biotechnology”.
The organisation’s primary task is to support the ongoing development and promotion of the life sciences and biotechnology sector in Mainz. In doing so, biomindz GmbH i.G. will be closely coordinating its activities with departments within the city responsible for urban planning and development as well as sustainable mobility. The company’s activities are divided into four key areas:
- Development of the Life Science Campus close to the University and the University of Applied Sciences Campuses, south of Saarstrasse.
- Sustainability management to ensure sustainable and, as far as possible, net zero carbon development from the outset that is intended to serve as a showcase for subsequent projects.
- Networking management and cluster formation to connect various local partners and to facilitate the creation of structures for a supra-regional and neutral cluster organisation.
- Public relations and marketing activities to raise the international profile of and market the location as well as to provide regular updates to the public.
Over the last few months, the brand “biomindz – Life Science Hub Mainz” has been designed to bundle positioning and marketing efforts under a single brand. It has been created to represent and appeal to smart minds (“minds[z]”), while incorporating a phonetic reference to the state capital Mainz. Using this label, the location will already begin marketing itself as a biotech and life science hub at national and international trade fairs and conventions over the next few months, while marketing campaigns to promote the Life Science Hub will be developed and launched. In this way, the brand aims to directly target talent from research and academia, start-ups, investors and companies both from Germany and around the world.
The ultimate goal is to establish the brand among the previously mentioned national and international target groups and to raise awareness and knowledge of what the state capital Mainz has to offer in terms of services and opportunities. At the same time, the intention is that the Life Science and Biotechnology Hub Mainz will be perceived as a trusted partner and an attractive location as a hub for life science and biotechnology. The objective is to generate interest among players in this sector within Germany and beyond and to encourage them to consider Mainz when planning an expansion, a relocation or a new business, deciding on future research activities and sustainable investments as well as choosing a future workplace in the city.
The new company will take on a pivotal role as a one-stop-shop in order to pool and coordinate the resulting interests and activities. In addition, a crucial element in the organisation’s marketing strategy is the website that has now gone live. At www.biomindz.com, interested parties will find detailed and comprehensive information about Mainz as a location for life science and biotechnology as well as direct points of contact and partners for a variety of purposes. An interactive map highlights the advantages of the region and provides details of existing players in the biotechnology ecosystem. A virtual model of the Life Science Campus outlines the most important services and facilities that are planned to be implemented. The website is being constantly developed to meet the needs of users and the news section will provide regular updates on the latest developments and events in the hub region.
“Under the “biomindz” brand, we are taking a professional approach to marketing Mainz as a life science and biotech hub on the national and international stage. Our message is clear: Mainz is a city in which you can successfully conduct research, establish a company and grow sustainably. In setting up this new organisation within ZBM, we are helping to ensure that the optimum prerequisites for this are in place, that relevant interests are addressed professionally and competently and channelled to the right places,” stresses Daniel Gahr, Managing Director of ZBM.
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