Friday, March 07, 2008

Deep End

So, in case you don’t make time in your daily schedule to religiously read and memorize my blog, I am currently reading this crazy vegan propaganda book called A Way Out : Dis-ease Deception and the Truth About Health, only it’s not really a crazy vegan propaganda book. It’s really more of a crazy raw foodist/conspiracy theory propaganda book.

The truth is I haven’t finished it yet. It’s strictly my commute book, so I’ve read about 80 pages (a little past halfway). But man, this dude -- Matthew Grace -- he sure is nutty. The book starts out all “vegetarian” propaganda -- OK… I can buy that. Then it goes a little deeper and becomes “vegan” propaganda, and of course, I’m still on board. Next (and this is my favorite part) it turns into anti-pharmaceutical and government agencies propaganda, and seriously, I’m over here like cheering, “Give it to ‘em Matthew! Expose the deceit and lies behind BIG Pharma*.” And I’m all punching the air with my fists.

But then… he takes it a step to far. Matthew promotes a strict raw foodist lifestyle. Fruits, veggies, nuts, nothing heated about -- I believe -- 104 degrees. Matthew… he pretty much just eats fruit, but you know… he doesn’t deprive himself a small spinach salad every now and then. Everything in moderation, I suppose.

I can buy that this type of eating is not unhealthy, and if you’re up for becoming a forest-dweller and rocking out Thoreau-style and/or have a member of the food police chained to your person, maybe it’s plausible (some celebrities claim to be raw foodists). Where he loses me is when he starts waxing poetic about fasting, and how people can go not only days, but, “our bodies… can easily go months without taking ANY food.”

Maybe that’s true, in theory, but in reality, in a society where eating disorders like anorexia are a huge issue, when you’re already promoting a diet consisting entirely of practically nada, touting the benefits of starving oneself for months seems… irresponsible at the very least, if not grossly and deliberately negligent.

Oh Matthew…

*For those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, I am not a fan of the pharmaceutical industry. In a former life, I spent time as an account person in a public relations agency in the “Healthcare” division. My accounts were big pharmaceutical drugs companies, and I promoted lucrative prescription drugs. I saw firsthand how public relations, advertising, and marketing, are used to go direct to the consumer in an attempt to persuade them to visit their doctor, armed with symptoms (often common ailments that could be… well… anything at all… up to and including simple things like lack of sleep) and ask for a drug BY BRAND NAME. Marketing research overwhelming shows again and again that when you ask your doctor for a brand name, they will more times than not, give it to you. I also sat through brainstorming sessions during which my team tried to come up with snappy syndrome names. Yes, many of these “syndromes” you hear on television aren’t actually medical terms, they are made up by marketing people. Moreover, doctors are paid an inordinate amount of money for an hour of their time and their endorsement, and too many are not shy about asking for more money from Big Pharma… makes you wonder where their loyalty and priorities are. The “this isn’t right” light bulb went off in my head ALL THE TIME. And, we were just the PR firm, the lowest of the low on the marketing food chain.

It is true, for every doctor who demanded more money, I talked to a patient whose life had changed for the positive because of a prescription drug. But many of the people I spoke with were on multiple prescription drugs for various disorders -- some preventable with good old healthy eating and physical activity -- as well as drugs to lessen the side effects of other drugs. That’s a lot of drugs. But with their prescriptions and diagnoses came no lifestyle changes… just more drugs. When you really think about it… the food, drug and healthcare industries are inevitably interconnected… why do they continue to promote this viscous cycle of reactive medicine?

It really just burns me up.

Anyway, breath easy my friends; I'm stepping off my soapbox now.


Lou's Sister said...

Not to ruin anything, but my favorite part of the book is when talks about how sometimes he misses pizza and he'll stand outside of pizzerias in NYC just to smell the scent of it.

heidikins said...

Have you read/watched "Thank You for Smoking?" Your anti-Pharma rant reminds me of my favorite speeches from the book.

And as for a raw food diet, if it cannot include sushi I'm afraid I'm out. Sorry chica!


L Sass said...

I don't think I'll ever be a vegan, but my roommate formerly worked in health care PR and she felt the exact same way. For a while she worked on the drug for "restless leg syndrome." Nuff said,