“One problem I see with those of us who want to be humane is that while we invariably support calls for justice at a macro level, some of us are not above taking advantage in our personal, day-to-day dealings. I once rented a room in a house full of Marxists, and one of them was one of the least just individuals I’ve ever met. Yet he regularly marched in favor of justice for the oppressed peoples of this world. If we want peace, it’s essential that we be peaceful. And if we want justice, we have to be just—down to the smallest transactions. I think a lot of people can agree with this easily. But there are always “grey areas.” That’s where we have to be especially disciplined and thoughtful.” -Mark Bittner, We Must Be Just, April 2013

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Future of Herbology

At the end of a study course, after having read the book Green Pharmacy: The History and Evolution of Western Herbal Medicine, by Barbara Griggs, I was given this question:
Herbal medicine has had a long and proud past, checkered with defiant people who stood up for what they knew was right. Presently, this same struggle continues with corporations, governments and the medical community trying to control herbology's rebirth. What do you think the future holds for herbal medicine? Should herbology become main stream like many herbalists believe, or should it continue to be taught and practiced as it is? What is your opinion?
 This was my response to that question:
I believe that, should herbology become “mainstream” in the sense that it is used instead of, or in conjunction with, medical science, it would be under controlling regulations and restrictions and be controlled by bureaucracy and monetary gain just as is found in medical scientific practice today. For any practice, medical or otherwise, that is said to hold the care of people first, but is controlled by a fore mentioned practices, it's true nature is not in the care for those they say they serve, but rather in serving themselves. Each time herbology has tried to become mainstream in the past, it has fallen prey to such practices as these and I believe it would again, as it seems to be a cycle that is repeated throughout history. We should learn from the past and not repeat it when the outcome is a negative one. I believe that only through personal and small communal practice of holistic care will it be able to survive and thrive.
 I also believe that supplements that are nothing but extracted chemicals, even though they be from natural sources, should not be labeled as holistic or nutritional, nor should they be sold with holistic foods and medicines, as they are not such. I believe this relation continues to be a sore on the herbalist and naturopath and each who practice in these areas should avoid their uses. It is a money-making practice that is just as chemically dependent as medical science and I believe it needs to be separated from holistic care in order for those who work in this field to be taken more seriously by the mainstream care practitioners.
I believe the struggle between the medical field and the holistic care givers will continue as long as those in the medical field feel threatened by the loss of revenue that will be generated by people seeking alternative ways of caring for themselves, but that alternative care will, as in times past, become more widely used and accepted. However, I do not foresee a fundamental change in the way society seeks medical care. The only way to bring about such a fundamental change is to teach people, and there are many who don't want to be taught and many more who don't want them to be taught. Our society runs largely on capitalism and, unfortunately, money is power, and those who oppose holistic care have a lot of both. I believe the survival of alternative health care in the United States must continue to be practiced on a very small scale in order not to be eradicated all together by the competition.
Have you read the book? Do you have an opinion regarding the question?

Friday, June 3, 2011

To Replace or Mimic

Not too long ago I read an article by Dr. Stan Gardner which he wrote concerning the reasons a person should not consume soy products (you may find the article here). I wrote a response to him noting that when people use such products the reason behind it is that they don’t truly wish to change their eating habits. It is only through a change in what we consume, by replacing unhealthy options with a whole new way of eating and not in using products that mimic our unhealthy lifestyle, that we can find optimal health.

This was my response:

I just finished reading your article on Meridian Magazine entitled “Why No Soy? Soy's Secrets” and found it to be very informative. However, I feel there are other aspects that should also be included in the discussion about milk usage, not just the source of the milk. As a Nutritional Herbologist I have noticed that most people use soy products as a “healthier” alternative to animals products in their diets. They want to be healthier by minimizing the amount of animal foods they eat and replace them with something similar to what they are already eating rather than eliminating them all together and replacing them with fresh plant-based foods.

Another idea to discuss would be what you are using the milk for and in what quantity. To use milk in the morning on cereals seems to be an unhealthy and over abundant use of milk if consumed on a regular basis several times a week. In most cases the cereal itself is less healthy than the milk used on the cereal. Again, a change of food type would be an excellent way to reduce, if not eliminate, the use of milk in the morning. Eating foods such as fresh fruits or eating oatmeal prepared with water and flavored with berries, honey, etc are a couple of healthier options.

I agree that over consuming processed foods, including soy foods, is an unhealthy way to eat. Our bodies become full of chemicals that they can't eliminate, causing our systems to malfunction due to imbalance. I believe a good way to help reduce this occurrence is not to replace one processed food with another, but to change the way we eat to a much simpler and more natural way. Through my own education I have come to have a personal philosophy about what we should eat and in what quantities which is that we should eat in abundance what the earth provides in abundance. Plant-based foods grow in abundance naturally and animal products take a bit more time to replenish themselves, each depending on what it is whether meat, eggs, milk, etc. With this idea we also need to consider how to replenish the nutrients lost in the creation of each food source. With plants, their nutrients return easily to the earth to be used again, with animals it is a much longer process, again eat according to how the earth can provide.

I feel a dialogue about changing the dependence on processed foods for an independence from processed foods, instead of replacing one product with another, would be a great discussion.

I hope you take a small amount of time to read and consider what I have written. Thank you for listening.

With all sincerity and health for all in mind,

Jodi McCombs

I was hoping he would read my response to him and begin a dialogue about the subject in order to help others searching for better health, but I have yet to see a response to my ideas and queries. Perhaps my ideas are too far fetched.

Soaring Potential

To fly with an eagle is to see sights unseen, as starlings fill the skies.

Even that little brown bird on the ground knows where it’s potential lies.

The ostrich and emu share a common trait, running is their forté.

Other birds, when allowed to be, seem to enjoy their play

A bobbing cockatoo dancing on it’s perch is truly a silly sight.

Now imagine that bird, free with its flock, as it passes in graceful flight.

Have you ever seen a pandemonium of parrots descend upon a tree back home?

For, you see, in reality, parrots weren’t bred to be alone.

The nightingale brings beauty to our ears, the peacock beauty to our eyes.

While all through the trees, where the mourning doves roost, hang the mourning dove’s mournful cries.

The flamingo stands on one leg for hours, while the penguin soars through the deep.

And though variety abounds throughout, they’re all birds from their very first peep.

There are birds that mimic, birds that screech and birds that can sing a soothing tune.

There are birds that welcome the morning as it breaks and birds who serenade the moon.

There is beauty to be found throughout the world of birds. Still, and none the less,

Only a bird, who is allowed to soar free, knows it’s own potential best.

“Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings.”

André Gide

"All men who have turned out worth anything have had the chief hand in their own education"
- Sir Walter Scott