Banana Republics – an old novel for a current era

11/2017 – the USDA Food Composition Database is still missing critically important information – and until we can discuss that there is much else that isn’t going to be discussed. Note – this is about my concern that the entire public is being victimized by inadequate health care options as well as the information missing from a public database, and the history likely involves the radioactive incidents and factory work that took place in Hanford, Washington. Adequate iodine supply helps protect the body and thyroid gland from developing cancer and yet instead of educating the public regarding that fact the opposite occurred. Radioactive iodine is treated as a therapy for detecting cancer with the use of X-ray machines and for destroying thyroid cancer. Emergency supplies of higher dose iodine are produced for use in case of a nuclear incident but long term adequacy of iodine would work just as well or better than a short term use of high dose iodine if/when a nuclear incident occurred. The negative health effects of radioactive iodine have also been tested on the U.S. public without permission in covert experiments that took place during the Cold War years. See number six: http://theweek.com/articles/622448/8-government-conspiracy-theories-how-could-right/

Another plant can help reduce radiation in the soil – sunflowers have been used to help clean up radioactive hazardous waste sites. So instead of growing banana plants it might be helpful in some areas to plant sunflowers. https://gardencollage.com/change/sustainability/scientists-using-sunflowers-clean-nuclear-radiation/

Happy Holidays anyway – food sources for iodine and selenium, another trace mineral that is important for thyroid health is collected in an initial draft on my newer website: https://effectivecare.info/g9-iodine-%26-thyroid

Don Quixote, USA is a novel by Richard Powell that I read many times as a youth. Banana growing was a serious love for a nerdy young man who joined the Peace Corps and went to a South American country to help teach others. Somehow in the ensuing comedic adventures and misadventures he managed to grow bananas and takeover a Banana Republic – it is never too late to catch up on the classics.

I read the Reader’s Digest version which is mentioned in this book review. Reader’s Digest publishes slightly condensed versions of full length novels and publishes a book that includes four novels. Having read a few of the novels in their original and the Reader’s Digest condensed version I would say, great job Reader’s Digest at putting books in young adult’s and adult’s hands. I have not read the full length version of Don Quixote, USA but trust that it is even better than the Reader’s Digest version. Part of their success might be in choosing great books in the first place.

Book Review: Don Quixote, USA by Richard Powell

The novel is also available in a Kindle version and has an all star review on Amazon: Don Quixote, USA .

Take home lesson – if you don’t like something don’t just smash walnuts, unless you can also grow bananas. Read Don Quixote, USA to find  out more.

/Or spoiler for those who like to take things the wrong way, when the nerdy looking Peace Corps first arrives he is met by the current dictator who liked to crack nuts – smashing them – with the handle end of his pistol. When the now swash buckling Peace Corps member finds himself in the dictator’s chair as the people’s choice he finds the desktop has rounded indentations that do hold the walnut in place for handing cracking with the pistol handle (or whatever type it was, I don’t quite remember). The point in my sharing this is about negative smear campaigns against information – why is iodine information being withheld from the U.S. public when it was once available. No other nutrients seem to be missing and several non-nutrients are included. In 2012 I had an account on a social media site and multiple fake looking accounts were following it in a way that seemed to be trying to link me to the President in office at the time – I closed the account as the simplest way to end the parody followers attempt at a negative smear campaign. I didn’t know who might have been behind the fake looking followers but there were many of the same type of persona.

More on the less amusing history of the term Banana Republic is available on the Smithsonian website: Where we got the term Banana Republic. 

The take home lesson – don’t let your country be taken over by a business dictatorship where money talks, dictators listen, and everyone else asks how high to jump because they know that more than walnuts will be smashed.

Disclosure: Among my many houseplants I have grown a banana plant. they would need more sun than normal indoor light provides to actually produce fruit but as a large, lovely green tropical plant banana plants grow quickly and easily. https://www.thespruce.com/grow-bananas-indoors-1902483

Growing bananas in the right outdoor climate is relatively easy because new sprouts grow around the base of the older fruit bearing plant which can be the size of a small tree. The individual small plants can be dug up, and replanted with more space around them so that they all will be able to have the nutrients and sunlight that they will need in order to become a fullsize fruit bearing plant. I’ve never grown more than one potted plant banana but the book explains the process and it is an important part of the story – the young man changed himself in the process of helping the struggling people grow a more productive product for export. The dictator was overthrown by the will of the people who had grown to appreciate the young man’s help.

The Peace Corps volunteer knew about the amazing properties of the banana plant and his hard work led to a productive country, while the dictator that had been in charge knew more about cracking walnuts. The book includes details about growing bananas as the problem with the dictatorship at the time was a lack of productivity and lack of income.

The lesson isn’t about one Peace Corps worker or one dictator, it is about the group of people learning productive skills – no one alone can grow an entire field of bananas – it took a while for the young man to get enough interest and help.

A row of immature banana plants that need to be separated and replanted in a field. Or needed to be separated and replanted before they got this big. Ideally the sprouts would be used when they first appear and are only a few inches tall. This row would have roots that are too intertwined to be able to be separated.
A full size banana plant in the autumn, with a row of immature sprouts at the base – used for decorative purposes, I just happened to notice them.

And a daily reminder iodine content in our food supply was removed from a public database. This would not have been an accident – government agencies do what they are told. Why would the Obama Administration want to remove iodine information from public use? and why would the Trump Administration continue the policy? Food sources and other information about iodine and selenium is collected in a draft form on a different website: G9: Iodine & Thyroid

Where’s the iodine? Still missing from the USDA Food Composition Database, November, 2017.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Several nutrients are involved in heart disease

Whether nutrient deficiencies or other metabolic imbalance is the cause is not clear or it may be a response to oxidative stress, however levels of the trace nutrients magnesium, selenium, zinc, and vitamin D3 were found to be low and the level of calcium elevated in myocardium, a type of muscle tissue in the heart. [1]

  1. Karl T. Weber,1,* William B. Weglicki,2 and Robert U. Simpson3 Macro- and micronutrient dyshomeostasis in the adverse structural remodelling of myocardium, Cardiovasc Res. 2009 Feb 15; 81(3): 500–508.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

Why did the USDA remove iodine from its Food Composition Database?

If you wait for someone else or for your government to hand you a survival kit, then you may be waiting a while and sometimes people are already too sick to be able to wait much longer. For some hard to understand reason a life saving tool was taken away from the U.S. public that had been available for a long time.

We in the U.S. used to have life saving information available to us which was removed – if that happened in North Korea would we be concerned? Food sources of iodine were included in the USDA Food Composition Database in 2010 and 2011 and now the information is no longer included even though many, many other chemicals are included that aren’t even considered essential vitamins or minerals. Iodine is a trace mineral that is considered essential and it helps prevent neurological deficits in children, may have to do with risk of autism, obesity and apathy. (ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/nutrients/index)

The current nutrient guideline for iodine is based on a goal to prevent goiter which is a physical symptom of very severe iodine deficiency. Patients who are treated with a short term loading dose of extra iodine, a dose that would be too much if continued long term, report on average a significant reduction in symptoms including pain from Fibrocystic Breast Disease, migraines and fibromyalgia. http://www.jpands.org/vol11no4/millerd.pdf Fibrocystic Breast Disease – painful breasts that may cycle with the monthly hormonal changes, used to be very uncommon for U.S. women and is now very common:

“The incidence of fibrocystic breast disease in American women
was 3 percent in the 1920s. Today, 90 percent of women have this
disorder…” http://www.jpands.org/vol11no4/millerd.pdf

I am familiar with the condition, it hurt, taking a high dose iodine supplement did help relieve me of the cyclic breast pain and coincidentally also may have helped resolve a severe migraine problem that I had and undiagnosed fibromyalgia type pain – the insurance requirements for a diagnosis of fibromyalgia are very specific and my set of muscle knots didn’t match the criteria at the time I was having pain. A gluten free diet seemed to help me feel better so I just followed that on my own initiative. I have since learned that chemically the gluten molecule is quite similar to the thyroid hormone and for some people an autoimmune reaction may be causing the body to become over-sensitized to both gluten and the thyroid hormone. Strictly avoiding the dietary allergen (gluten in this example) can help the body to become less over-reactive to the body’s natural chemicals (thyroid hormone in this example). Molecular mimicry is the term used to describe this phenomenon if interested in reading more about it.

A randomized clinical trial with patients reporting breast pain also termed Benign Breast Disease or cyclic mastalglia or Fibrocystic Breast Disease found that pain was reduced for patients treated with double the current RDA of iodine or greater but that relief was not provided for the group who received a dose equal to the current U.S. nutrient guideline. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15239792

Benign Breast Disease or Fibrocystic Breast Disease has not generally been found to be directly a risk for later breast cancer however for some patients (~ 5%-20%) it may be an early indicator of later risk.  Abstract available, full text paywall, so I’m not sure of the details regarding the results: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25970956

An overview of a variety of research on the topic of breast health and iodine and halide toxicity, bromine, perchlorates, and fluoride, is available here: https://kathleenbarnes.com/iodine-and-fibrocystic-breasts-and-breast-cancer/

Excess perchlorate, especially in combination with low iodine, may increase risk to fetal brain development. https://scienmag.com/mothers-exposed-to-common-toxin-have-lower-levels-of-hormone-crucial-for-brain-development/

PTSD outbursts is about a domino pattern of behavior that is triggered by the first domino being bumped. Being offended is something that has nothing to do with PTSD. A few tips for helping reduce symptoms of PTSD, a physical brain issue involving overactive fear response, is available here: https://www.organicfacts.net/post-traumatic-stress.html

Prenatal care is important to think about once the infant is conceived but it can be even better to think about before trying to conceive. An evaluation for iodine level and thyroid antibodies can be a good idea for anyone but may also be helpful for a future infant’s brain development.

This image has nothing to do with being offended or being triggered – it is about potentially health and life saving information being withheld from the U.S. population. Why withhold it? What is the USDA goal in removing a large amount of data from a health professional’s and individual’s toolkit for providing accurate preventative health education? Why take away information from a toolkit when it had been available?

Where’s the iodine?

Iodine food sources include:

  • anything made with iodized salt,
  • many types of seaweed including kelp and nori, (used in sushi rolls),
  • coconut and any other produce that is grown very near to ocean waters (Iodine is released into the air by coastal water microbes – so killing coral reeves may affect our nutrient supply – that is also how we get selenium.)
  • cranberries, organic yogurt, and navy beans and other types of dry beans are also mentioned as good sources of iodine in this article: (globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/iodine-foods/).

It is good to have adequate selenium when increasing intake of iodine as occasionally the body can overreact and start over producing thyroid hormone and selenium is necessary for the enzyme that is needed to breakdown excess amounts of thyroid hormone. It is involved in metabolism and too little can cause depression and feeling cold and too much can cause a racing heart and feeling jittery and manic.

Two hundred micrograms per day is the recommended amount and is generally available in a one-a-day type supplement, otherwise approximately two Brazil nuts per day is a good natural source – there aren’t many natural sources because it is released into the atmosphere by coastal ocean water microbes and the rainforest Brazil nut trees seem to be good at collecting the mineral – we live in a miracle – we should treat it like a miracle – I like to call the miracle Mother Earth – she birthed us all.

Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.