The Health 101 Newsletter

Issue 2
Let the Buyer Beware
By Don Bennett, DAS

I was asked to write about this issue because a number of you with a healthy dose of skepticism suspected that there may be something rotten in the state of Denmark, that being the raw food and alternative health communities. If you've not noticed any red flags, it's because certain people are doing a good job painting nice pictures where everything looks and sounds appealing. And we'd all like to believe that all is right with the little corner of our world that we live in, but if there's something wrong, it's for our own good that we find out about it.

When a fad becomes a movement, and a movement becomes a trend, and a trend becomes a way of life for many people, what was a small cottage industry will become full-blown commerce. And when a market gets to be that big, you can count on there being those who would trade your money for something worthless, or worse.

Such is the case with the alternative health and raw food industries. You have only to look at the shelves in large health food stores to see that the raw food way of eating is now a big industry (and there's now a Raw Food for Dummies book too). But just because something is raw, doesn't mean it's automatically a healthy thing to eat. Yet there are raw food educators who promote...

"You can become healthy and vibrant by eating a raw food diet where you can eat burgers, pizza, pasta, cookies, cakes and pies everyday and you never have to count calories, proteins, fats or carbs".

And you are being told this even though it is not true. And why are you being told this? Because it's what a lot of people would like to hear, so it "sells". And since there are now raw food instructors who care more about being successful and popular than about teaching truthful information, some of them will use any marketing tactic they can to hook you, even if it's not in your best interest health-wise. And to make matters worse, some of these educators are teaching people to teach others (for a fee), and when it's their first exposure to the raw food diet, these folks go on to teach other people unaware that they are teaching incorrect information. That's the difference between disinformation (from someone who knows better) and misinformation (from the students turned teachers). There are some very sincere, very caring folks teaching erroneous dietary information because it's what they've been taught, and therefore this is what they believe to be true. In many ways it's no different from mainstream nutritionists, and from how medical doctors practice (when they manage an illness instead of giving you the information that allows you to rid yourself of it... you can't fault them for this because that's what they were taught).

Sure, you can become healthier when moving from the foods of the typical Western diet to foods that are not damaged by cooking, but if the difference between "become healthier" or "become the healthiest you can be" is the difference between getting cancer or not getting cancer, what does it matter that you got cancer five years later by eating a somewhat healthier diet. Wouldn't a good goal be to never get cancer at all? And contrary to popular belief, it is possible to adopt lifestyle habits which dramatically decrease your risk of cancer (and diabetes, and asthma, and osteoporosis, and depression, and Alzheimer's...). And if that decreased risk results in no degenerative disease, and a life with lots of vitality, isn't adopting those lifestyle practices which allowed this to happen worth it?

Truth be told, many people who are now eating "the raw food diet" are eating a diet that is just as high in fat (or higher) than the unhealthy diet they used to eat thanks to "gourmet" raw foods and raw food educators like the person referenced above. But too much fat is too much fat, even if it is plant-based and undamaged by cooking. So the takeaway point here is that there is no such thing as the raw food diet; there are many versions of it, some healthier than others, and one being the healthiest. Which version you end up embracing depends upon your priorities. If over-the-top scrumptious recipes that resemble the meals you used to eat have a higher priority than your health, you'll love those raw food educators like the one referred to above... and there are a lot of them (new ones appearing almost weekly). If delicious food is a priority of yours, but robust health is higher on your list of priorities, you're in luck, because there is a raw food diet (the original one) that can satisfy both of these priorities quite nicely.

To illustrate how incorrect information can spread, here's a quote from a student of the above mentioned educator who is now a teacher (notice the similar phrasing): "Imagine eating burgers, pizza, pasta, cookies, cakes and pies everyday, all made from raw, living foods! Imagine never having to count calories, proteins, fats or carbs! You won't have to weigh or measure your food. The raw and living food diet is about eating whatever you want, whenever you want! You can lose weight, heal your body, increase your energy, look and feel younger; not in years, not in months but within days!" It is true that with a healthy diet, you can lose weight, heal your body, increase your energy, and look and feel younger, but you can't achieve this eating the diet described above. As they say, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

Snake oil?

But what about all the non-food products that are being marketed to the large and ever growing raw food market? Like any other large market, some products are really helpful but many are not. Most just separate you from your money, and only benefit the seller (although you may get a placebo effect from its use, but that effect only does so much).

Here are my favorite rip-offs, and please understand that my background in electronics and telecommunications, and that of a researcher, affords me the ability to pass judgment on these items. Also, I should preface this by saying that if your favorite health mentor – someone whom you admire, trust, and follow – is one of the folks selling these items, you should wonder whether they know the product is bogus, or do they honestly believe it to be beneficial and were simply taken in by the unscrupulous person who sold them on it; either way, it should make you question whether or not you should be following this person 100%. But bottom line: please don't shoot the messenger (me).

This is probably the item that I find most worrisome because it not only doesn't work, but it increases your risk of cancer because you believe that by using it, you can now use your cell phone safely, when in fact, this is not true.

At health expos you may be treated to a demonstration of this product and how it "really does work". But the method used to convince you of its effectiveness is nothing short of trickery, and the person doing the demonstration obviously knows this.

When I've confronted salesmen on their deception, one of them defended their actions by saying, "But there is no way to truly demonstrate that it works, so to get people to buy it – for their own good – we have to do this [trick]." Maybe they honestly believe this, I don't know. But I do know that these devices do not work; they can't "harmonize" anything, and they can't shield you from anything. How a cell phone works is not a mystery; after all, we humans invented them. And the effect of radiation on cells regarding cancer is also a known quantity. The truth of the matter is, if these cell phone shields really did work as claimed, you wouldn't be able to make a call. (To see an actual scam caught in the act, click here.)

Let it suffice to say that there is enough evidence to show that holding a cell phone up to your head is damaging to your health, and that there is nothing that can make a cell phone safe to hold up to your head. This doesn't mean that we can't use cell phones, we just have to be smart about it so we use them safely. For more info on the hazards of holding a cell phone up to your head and what you can do about it, read these articles.

The next thing is a group of items collectively known as "grounding products". I don't place these in the same category as the item above because they don't have the potential to do any harm, at least not to you, just to your wallet. And like other things, there are both worthwhile and worthless ones. In the raw food arena, the salesman most associated with this technology is a smooth talking, seemingly sincere, charismatic, inspirational person, yet the method used to demonstrate that this technology works is the same technique used by snake oil salesmen, it's just a modern, digital version.

Please don't misunderstand, I'm not saying that it's a bad idea to walk barefoot on the bare earth; the more in touch we are with the earth and our natural environment the better. But to take advantage of people by selling them something that doesn't really do anything, when that money could be better spent on things that actually do help the body to become and to stay healthy, is a crime against humanity. But until it becomes a Federal crime, folks like this will take advantage of the credibility they've established with people (from the dissemination of beneficial dietary information) and sell them worthless products using snake oil sales tactics. This person I'm referring to is very intelligent, and is not likely to be scammed by the creators of bogus technology.

When this individual held up a digital multimeter (in one of his first videos involving this grounding technology), and then demonstrated what happened when he "grounded" himself (as shown on the meter), I couldn't believe it when he correlated the meter reading with the benefit of being grounded (and any electronics engineers who saw this I'm sure got a good laugh out of it). And by-the-way, just because his websites say that he is, "considered by peers to be one of the world's leading authorities on nutrition" doesn't mean this is so. Those words appear there because he wrote them. And in my opinion anyone promoting the consumption of deer placenta is not an authority on the kind of nutrition that promotes optimal health.

It should also be said that there appears to be some worthwhile grounding products for sale, but as with most things, there will also be worthless products as well (just as with the raw food diet: there are health-enhancing raw food items and non-health-enhancing raw foods items).

There's an old saying, "If you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all" and this is the way I live my personal life. But because my professional life is devoted to debunking health scams, and shedding light on lies, mistruths, and disinformation regarding issues of health and healing, I have the unenviable task of telling it like it is. I knew when I signed on to this work that I'd be blowing the whistle on the meat, dairy, and pharmaceutical industries, but I never imagined there'd be so much to expose within the raw food community, and this is sad, but it is also human nature. And human nature being what it is requires that we become very aware of what we're considering buying into; just because there's something beneficial about a particular practice doesn't mean that all products associated with that practice are beneficial. And believing that a particular product is beneficial doesn't make it so.

I realize this article may have burst a few bubbles concerning some popular educators who are held in high esteem by some, but if the best health is a high priority of yours, you need to hear this kind of information.




Featured Article
from the website

The Real Epidemic

"...Instead of raising red flags and making lots of noise about something that seriously affects very few people relatively speaking (the flu), why isn't lots of noise being made about the things that cause cancer, diabetes, stroke, asthma, arthritis, and osteoporosis?" (Read the full article...)



Thanks for the suggestions

In the last issue of Vitality Digest I asked for suggestions for what you'd like me to write about in these newsletters, and many of you came up with some great topics, one of which is the lead story above. I'll be featuring your suggestions in each issue; upcoming articles include:

Making sense of all the conflicting raw food diet information

The B12 controversy

Successes and failures: why?

What's the bottom line with colon cleansing?

Why is the raw food movement so fragmented?

How important are superfoods?

Are raw animal foods necessary for optimal health?

How much fat is too much and not enough?

What is the importance of eating locally?

What's the difference between 85% and 100% raw?



  Quote of the Day


"Nature returns to normal only when enervating habits are given up. There are no "cures," as this word is generally understood. Every so-called disease is built within the body by enervating habits. If these habits are given up and rational living habits adopted, health will come back to stay. To remain healthy, the one healed must not revert to the old, debilitating ways of life." – John Tilden, MD, 1890."




  Photo of the Day

Essentially the same digestive systems, so, the same diets (primarily fruit).




  Video of the Day


Click the PLAY button above to view
a short video on diabetes




Item of the Day


The BEST Toothbrush!

The science that went into this toothbrush is amazing! It blows away any store-bought brush. Yes, you must buy a minimum of 24 brushes, but they're 68 cents each, and they make a great gift. Go to their website here.



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