“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” Luciano Pavarotti
Will it ever be safe to eat salad greens again? From where I stood in the produce section of the supermarket I could see the headlines screaming from the news rack by the checkout counter. CONTAMINATED PRODUCE. PEOPLE SICK. I glanced suspiciously at the onions on my left. Were they tainted? I leaned over and cautiously sniffed the spinach. Had rogue pigs gotten loose and run rampant through the patch, spreading E. coli in every direction just moments before the greens were picked, packed and shipped?
The poor U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has certainly been overwhelmed with problems of food and drug safety lately. Perhaps we are asking too much of those erstwhile commissioners to keep track of both our food and our drugs. After all, how can we expect them to effectively police the vegetable farms of America when they are already up to their ears writing black-box warning labels for already approved drugs that are unaccountably killing and disabling people? There just isn’t enough time at the end of the day to think about food beyond grabbing a quick hormone-tainted, antibiotic-laden hamburger with GMO fries and a diet soda on the way home to get a few hours of sleep.
One problem is that medical schools do not really equip doctors to understand the profound importance of food and nutrition. That is because funding for medical schools comes mainly from the pharmaceutical companies. These powerful economic behemoths prefer that no one finds out too much about adequate diets, healthy lifestyles and living with the body in balance and structural alignment because it could ruin them financially.
Medical practitioners do, however, emerge from medical school enthusiastically poised to scribble prescriptions for dangerous drugs all day long. That is why we need to free up more time for the FDA research doctors to improvise fast-track approval for the newest and scariest drugs and bizarre vaccines.
Each new drug requires much creativity and imagination to invent a new disease to go with it, not to mention planning the jillion-dollar marketing schemes to make sure people beg their doctor to prescribe that new pharmaceutical as soon as it comes down the pike. The average person has no idea how much time all of this takes, what with flying back and forth to drug company conferences at five-star hotels in exotic locations around the globe, each one with mandatory rounds of golf and lavish four-course banquet dinners followed by much drinking and flirting with voluptuous, scantily clad cocktail waitresses.
Back in the day when the only drug question on the table was whether aspirin should be taken on an empty stomach or with meals, it probably made sense that the responsibilities of keeping watch over food and drugs should be combined, but things are quite different today.
Many people, even many working inside the FDA, mistakenly believe that the essence of a food or nutrient is no different than the essence of a drug. In an effort to provide food for thought and help FDA researchers digest the difference between the two, I hereby provide the following definition of food as articulated by the online American Heritage Dictionary: “Material, usually of plant or animal origin, that contains or consists of essential body nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals, and is ingested and assimilated by an organism to produce energy, stimulate growth, and maintain life.”
From the same dictionary we learn the definition of a drug: “A substance used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a disease or as a component of a medication. A chemical substance, such as a narcotic or hallucinogen, that affects the central nervous system, causing changes in behavior and often addiction.”
Obviously, there are stark and fundamental differences between food and drugs. In recognition of the fact that eating nutritious foods in proper proportions can often eliminate the need for any drugs whatsoever, a conflict of interest clearly exists within the hallowed halls of the FDA. I believe it is high time to effectively split up the FDA into two separate agencies.
The drug part of the agency we will call the Drug and Disease Administration, or the DDA. Medical doctors can head up this one because they have been formally trained to see every aspect of the human experience as a medical condition requiring prescription drugs for treatment, a second drug to treat the side effects of the first one, and so on and on.
The food agency will be called the Food and Natural Healing Administration, or the FNHA. Wellness doctors and nutrition experts can run this one because of their propensity for viewing human health challenges as the result of nutritional, emotional, structural and lifestyle imbalances. By dividing up the FDA house in this way, everyone will be working on projects they like and know best, and everyone will be happy.
Don’t get me wrong though, there will still be ample opportunity for collaboration between the two distinct, new agencies. For example, it makes no clinical sense to stick with the outmoded practice of only comparing drug effects to placebo effects. (As a side note, remember back in the good old days when they were using actual placebos in the drug trials, instead of doctored up pills that produce side effects similar to the unpleasantness caused by the actual drugs being tested? But I digress.)
The time has come for us to move well beyond simple drug/placebo testing. If it is health we are looking for, let us perform high quality scientific research that compares health outcomes among a) drugs, b) placebos, and c) restoring health on the cellular level using nutrition, exercise and healing energy restoration. With two separate agencies steadfastly representing the best ideas in their respective fields, it will finally be possible to level the playing field and understand which protocols get the best results.
When the research starts pouring in and the data tallied, many folks will be amazed at the results that can be achieved by the foodies and natural healers. Wild claims that hundreds of billions of dollars can be saved each year, not to mention saving hundreds of thousands of lives as well, can finally be scrutinized in a strictly scientific fashion and just may be proven correct.
If that is the case, drug companies will no doubt find they need to hire more spin doctors to massage, manipulate and mangle the data before they can profitably market their drugs. Not to worry, the pharmaceutical industry has proven enormously resilient when forced to spin catastrophic news, superseded only by its skill at spreading fear in the public mind about conditions, diseases and disorders, many of which are as rare as winning lottery tickets.
Yes, things will definitely be different once we have a pro-food agency that doesn’t push drugs. Before long, producers of high quality organic fruits, vegetables, nutrition supplements and herbs may find they have ample scientific evidence to go head to head in the marketplace against anti-cancer drug therapies that don’t do any good anyway but cost as much as buying a new house. No longer will there be armed FDA storm troopers raiding producers of natural products and shutting them down because they had the audacity to cite published scientific literature indicating measurable health benefits available to users of their products.
We might even discover that children whose parents just say no to more than 50 vaccinations before they even show up for their first day in school are actually healthier than those who get stuck as if they were human pincushions. At any rate, for the first time in history (I am not making this up) the health of vaccinated children will finally be compared to that of unvaccinated children. Armed with this information, people will finally have a chance to analyze scientifically verifiable results for themselves, allowing them to make truly informed choices about the health of their own children.
I know what you are thinking, who in the heck has the money to pay for another federal agency in Washington, D.C.? No problem. The FDA’s funding pretty much all flows from the deep pockets of Big Pharma already. No need to mess with that revenue stream. In fact, once we remove food from the crowded plate of the new Drug and Disease Administration, drugs will begin flying out of the drug pipelines faster than you can say, “Stock split on Wall Street!”
Ah, but what about funding for the new Food and Natural Healing Administration? The solution to that is simple also, but requires a bit of political will. We need to tap into the very source of sickness, the undisputed king of chronic illness in North America: television advertising. Look at it this way, the public owns the public airwaves and the broadband spectrum. We have a legitimate right to charge higher rent for the privilege of brainwashing us.
I realize that the drug companies are the ones with the largest advertising outlays, so that industry will be the one most affected by this modest new tax. I’m not too worried about it though, if you take just a moment to look at Big Pharma’s wild and unimaginable profit margins you will notice they can easily afford it. Besides, you may recall that some of the most profitable blockbuster drugs in history were discovered and developed at American universities using taxpayer money. Once the real work was done, the patents were simply handed over to drug makers to go and make another killing. Here’s a chance for the boys from down on the pharma to show some gratitude and pay back a few billions in kind.
But time is of the essence. For the public’s protection we need to separate food and nutrition issues from the pharmaceutical cartel’s stranglehold as soon as possible. For starters, the farmers of this country urgently need a government agency to help them figure out how to wash the produce before it goes on the trucks. Not to mention the urgent need to get the drug executives out of the debate on vitamin safety before natural foods and vitamins become criminalized and I get arrested for felony possession of a slab of raw milk cheddar cheese on my sandwich and a bottle of vitamin C crystals in my briefcase.