My children were home from high school Monday and Tuesday with a cold and fever. They slept a lot; and we hastened their recovery with immunological system boosting substances such as astragalus, ginger, elderberry, and miso soup with shiitake mushrooms.
How foolish my wife and I were; if we were to follow the advice of one food manufacturer and the government watchdog agency—the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—we should have skipped the astragalus and miso soup and served big bowls of Kellogg’s Cocoa Krispies instead.
Before I go any further, for those of you who are unfamiliar with astragalus, I should explain what it is. Astragalus is a root chiefly grown in China where, because of its antiviral activity as well as its ability to strengthen individual’s qi (vital energy), it is a traditional medicine for cold and flu. Astragalus is readily available in natural food stores as herbal tinctures or pills, as well as in the dried root form for adding to soups. Like ginger, I consider astragalus a food grade root; which to me means that there are no side effects in any reasonable dosage.
Dr. Andrew Weil is a well known American physician and author who—having twice been on the cover of Time magazine—probably has done more than anybody to popularize the field of alternative medicine. He markets under his name a product line of vitamins and herbs. One of his products is Dr. Weil Immune Support Formula which contains astragalus and dried mushrooms such as reishi. I don’t personally consume this product, but his formula seems to be a good one.
Kellogg’s Cocoa Krispies is a sugar laden cereal with partially hydrogenated oil added for further health benefits (yes, I’m being sarcastic). Sugar is a well-known suppressor of the immunological system.
Now here is a pop quiz: Which product, Cocoa Krispies or Dr. Weil Immune Support Formula, should be allowed to claim that it boosts the immunological system. As you can guess—I wouldn’t be writing about this issue otherwise—the answer, according to the Food and Drug Administration, is Cocoa Krispies.
The FDA has no problem with the ridiculous claim that Cocoa Krispies: “helps support your child’s immunity.” As for Dr. Weil, he is not so lucky. He received, in October, a cease and desist letter from the FDA for claims such as “The Immune Support Formula contains astragalus. . . . Astragalus … is used traditionally to ward off colds and flu and has been well studied for its antiviral and immunity-enhancing properties.” Although this is an absolutely true statement, Weil was warned, “If your firm fails to take corrective action immediately, FDA may take enforcement action, such as seizure or injunction for violations of the FFDC Act without further notice. Firms that fail to take corrective action may also be referred to FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations for possible criminal prosecution for violations of the FFDC Act and other federal laws.”
Your tax dollars at work—allow the absurd false claim that a heavily processed and sugar laden cereal boosts immunity while persecuting sellers of natural remedies. The FDA has been captured by industrial food manufacturers and the pharmaceutical industry.
Almost 2 years ago I wrote about the satirical film Idiocracy. I asked the question: Do Crops Need Brawndo? In the movie, which is set 500 years in the future, a Gatorade-type product—Brawndo—has completely replaced water. Indeed, the product called Brawndo has replaced all other foods on the government’s food pyramid chart. Talk about life imitating the movies—if we are to believe Kellogg’s and the FDA, this flu season, a loving parent should ask: Do my children need Cocoa Krispies?
I think the error is that you think it’s your tax dollars at work. This is incorrect. This is an example of Kellogg’s lobbying dollars at work.
Similar to the discussions this blog has recently had over healthcare, there is no money to be made in a truly healthy diet. The more process and crap they add to food, the more they can theoretically charge. Never mind the nutritionists (including Weil) who tell us regularly the the less processing our food gets, the better it generally is for us. The nutritionists routinely dismiss the govt’s food pyramids as bunk. There’s just no profit in a healthy diet. And if there’s no money, no politician is going to support it.
And goodness knows if we eat right we won’t need to spend as much on healthcare.
You are correct, those who support healthy diets are not giving big campaign contributions. However industrial food manufacturers and the pharmaceutical industry do use our tax dollars, via regulatory agencies, to harass alternatives to the foods and drugs that they peddle.
It’s amazing. The US is getting quite literally sicker and sicker all the time.
I learned at an exhibition at the Museum of Natural History in Rotterdam this summer that Star Anise is also very good at preventing flu. We have started drinking tea made from the (whole) star, crushed, everyday. Steep it for a half hour in boiling water before drinking.
Apparently, it was the main ingredient in Tamaflu, causing a worldwide shortage in 2005, before the manufacturer developed something chemically similar to it, and stopped using Star Anise.
Thanks for the suggestion. How many stars to how many cups of water?
You’re welcome. We use one star per cup. It seems to be pretty strong stuff. This morning I used one star for two cups, and it still seemed pretty strong.
Also, I linked this article to my Facebook page, and a Dutch friend of mine referred me to a program here that discovered that there’s actually metal iron in Kellogg’s cereals (http://sites.rvu.nl/page/3167/nl, most of the program is in Dutch, but there is enough English that you can follow it, and you can see the experiments with your own eyes).
Kelloggs has been banned in Denmark for this very reason. So, when people eat Kellogg’s cereals, they’re actually eating ground up metal, the same stuff used to make nails.
If you finely mash a bowl of Kelloggs Special K, put a magnet in a plastic bag, stick in the in the bowl, and then scrape it off onto a white sheet of paper, you will see the results. Let it dry, and presto, it’s magnetic! Another test: Put a flake in water, and watch it as it follows a magnet around. Remarkable. The stuff really is poison. It’s sad that this can be passed off as food in the United States, and elsewhere. I hope it’s pulled off the shelves here soon, and in the rest of the world, for that matter.
Thanks for bringing my attention to the Coco Puffs issue. We don’t eat it, but it’s good to be informed, and to have the tools to inform others.
Keep up the good work!
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