This is not a political blog. Paleo Spirit is primarily a food blog that emphasizes the paleo way of eating and a healthy lifestyle that explores ways to improve “fitness” in all areas of our life – mind, body and soul. I want to be welcoming to people of all different persuasions and I know there are some readers who will be turned off at the mere mention of something that falls into the political realm. However, I had an interesting experience that I would like to share. And in my opinion this discussion could be categorized under “mind” because we should all make ourselves as educated as possible in order to navigate effectively in our world.

There is so much that goes on in politics that affects our lives and that includes how much control the government exercises over us. I am a strong believer in freedom and individual responsibility. And one of the ways we can lose freedom is when the government has enough power to tell us how and what to eat. For those of us who have seen and experienced the negative results of following the “Conventional Wisdom” of healthy eating, as espoused by the U.S. government (low-fat, high carb, etc…), we can attest to the fact government does not always know best. And this is not a liberal or conservative issue, it is a life or death issue.

I was motivated to call The Rush Limbaugh Program on March 9th because I heard him quoting, at length, from an article written by heart surgeon Dr. Dwight Lundell. “Heart Surgeon Speaks Out On What Really Causes Heart Disease”  In the course of quoting Dr. Lundell, Rush Limbaugh also expressed his view that it is liberal “food activists” who are imploring the government to “step in and save us” by implementing regulations that seek to alter our freedoms by positioning themselves as our “guardians”. Later in his remarks, Mr. Limbaugh pointed out the importance of individual freedom in the realm of dietary choices. I knew I wanted to call the program to let Rush know there are those of us who might consider ourselves “food activists” in a sense and yet do not seek to force our views and dietary decisions on others. We seek to educate and, in some cases, advocate for change in government activities.

Think about whether or not you are in favor of laws banning the sale of raw milk. And note how government subsidies of the corn industry change the marketplace and consider those ramifications. Then there was the recent story of the pre-school girl whose homemade lunch (turkey and cheese sandwich, chips, banana and apple juice) was inspected and deemed unsatisfactory by school officials. This child was forced to purchase the “more nutritious” school lunch which consisted of chicken nuggets! Regardless of your personal views of her homemade lunch, do you really want the government mandating what a child must be fed? Adherents of the paleo diet choose not to eat grains. Do you really like the prospect of the government forcing you to feed your child “whole grains” because it is supposedly “healthier”? I certainly do not!

It is a freedom issue, pure and simple.

To see what prompted my call to the Rush Limbaugh Program you may want to read the text of his remarks the day before. Here is a link to Limbaugh’s full remarks (you have to scroll down to find the section called “Doctor Claims Everything You’ve Heard About Cholesterol and Heart Disease is Wrong) The following is an excerpt of the majority of his comments. (emphasis mine):

RUSH: Now, this health story.  The website’s called Signs of the Times, and the story here is by Dr. Dwight Lundell. “Heart Surgeon Speaks Out On What Really Causes Heart Disease.” The upshot of it is that everything that we think we’re doing to promote cardiovascular health is actually contributing to cardiovascular problems.  This story prints out six pages.  The doctor wrote it.  So many times I have mentioned over the years about diet, health, food, how we are being manipulated by government goals, wrong medical ideas. Food activists with a logo and a fax machine putting out bogus information to the media, and they just run with it.  As long as it contains “government has to step in to save us,” then they’ll be happy to promote whatever the lying data is. 

So what we have here is a heart surgeon who is saying that he and his profession have been wrong for decades.  This experiment with statins and low-fat diets has not worked.  He says it’s time to move on to another way.  I’ll give you some pull quotes before getting to the story.  “Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.”

Another pull quote.  “The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.”

Another pull quote.  “I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.”  Not blockage, inflammation.

Another pull quote.  “The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.”

Another pull quote.  “Forget the ‘science’ that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent,” just like the global warming science is non-existent.  “The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.” It’s the inflammation, not the cholesterol.

Dr. Dwight Lundell, Signs of the Times.  “We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries, today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.  I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labeled ‘opinion makers.’ Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol. 

“The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.” But it’s not working. “These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated. 

“The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences. Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.”  That’s a stunning statistic, folks….

Back to Dr. Lundell, the heart surgeon.  “Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every year. Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.

“Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defense to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process, a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial. What thoughtful person would willfully expose himself repeatedly to foods or other substances that are known to cause injury to the body?

“Well, smokers perhaps, but at least they made that choice willfully. The rest of us have simply followed the recommended mainstream diet that is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity,” because it’s the inflammation that retards the passing of cholesterol through the arteries. The inflammation leads to the clogged arteries, not the cholesterol itself. “Let me repeat that,” he says. “The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low-fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.

Now, this goes against everything we’ve been hearing for the last 30 years. Everything! This doctor is saying that what we’ve been doing to help ourselves is killing us, or facilitating circumstances in which we die prematurely. Okay, so, “What are the biggest,” according to him, “culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods. Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. You kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury.

“This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now. … While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed with omega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone. … What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall.

“This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels. While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there,” he says. “I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.” This thing goes on and on. He said, “One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6;” remember, that’s bad, “soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter…” How many of you are afraid to eat butter? I’m not. (chuckles) At all. Eat “olive oil or butter from grass-fed beef. Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labeled polyunsaturated.

Again, this is Dr. Dwight Lundell, and the website is Signs of the Times, and his solution here is eat more protein. “The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today. What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods.” Now, you can do with this what you want. I’m interested in it because, as you know: Conventional wisdom, I ignore it. I toss it out the window.

It’s groupthink. Conventional wisdom is set by liberals. It’s set by the Democrat Party, set by the media. And it’s all aimed at making victims of every one of us. It’s all aimed at making sheep out of all of us. And in the case of food, look at this week alone. It’s all aimed at them putting themselves in charge of it. We’ve got Michelle Obama trying to set diets for schools. You got federal agents commandeering lunches brought from home prepared by mothers and telling the little four-year-old, “Sorry, that’s no good. You can’t eat that.” We had a story this week from a recent college graduated authorette claiming that food is the only area, it’s the last remaining place where the government doesn’t have any say-so in the distribution of the product-to-market.

Of course she was making the case, “We gotta get the government involved,” because she cited all the unfairness and all of the lack of quality in, say, the vegetable section at the grocery store at Wal-Mart. And by definition, that’s racist. Yes, it’s racist, and it’s discrimination against the poor. The poor are getting all the leftovers. The poor are always being denied access to the finest foods. So there’s a big push on, and there has been for my whole life and yours, to empower the federal government to take over as much of day-to-day life (including the decision-making) as they can get their arms around.

And how do they do it? Everything’s based on fear. “You’re gonna die if you keep doing this, you’re gonna get sick if you keep doing that. You’re gonna destroy the planet if you keep driving that car.” It’s a never-ending assault, and they focus on health ’cause everybody wants to be healthy, and they’re positioning themselves as your guardians. And I guarantee you, like everything else: You lose your freedom, you lose your freedom.

END TRANSCRIPT

When I heard Mr. Limbaugh make these remarks I knew I needed to call his program. It was absolutely astonishing to hear him advocating these things and even touting the benefits of grass-fed beef and butter. The “holy grail” of the paleosphere! I wanted to let him know there are many of us who believe what Dr. Lundell is saying is true. We do not buy into the Conventional Wisdomand have seen the changes in our own lives doing things differently. But we are not necessarily trying to force others to do it our way by getting the government involved. On the contrary, many of us are trying to educate others and eat the foods that we believe are best for us and our families. We want freedom and we do not want the government telling us what to do in this area.

The following is a transcript of my conversation with Rush Limbaugh on his radio program. (Note: My name is spelled Lea but pronounced “Lee” which is why the transcript shows my name misspelled.)

(Link to transcript)

“Food Activist” or Freedom Fighter 

RUSH: Lee in Peapack, New Jersey.  Thank you for calling.  Great to have you here.  Hi.

CALLER:  Hi, Rush.  I was in the audience at your CPAC speech and I’ve been a student at the Limbaugh Institute since 1990 when I was just a skull full of mush.

RUSH:  Well, thank you very much.

CALLER:  I’m very excited to talk to you.  This is the first time I’ve been motivated to call.  I was so excited to hear you yesterday quoting from the article by the heart surgeon regarding the real root cause of heart disease.

RUSH:  Hm-hm.

CALLER:  I’ve heard you lamenting for a long time the government involvement in food and how they dictate to us how to eat and I just wanted to let you know a couple things.  There are not only liberal food activists out here.  There are many of us who reject the idea that the government should be meddling in our food and telling us how to eat, and I’ve gotten involved in what’s known as the real food movement, and specifically the Paleo Diet, which actually tells you to eat essentially the opposite of the way the government has been dictating to us for many years.

RUSH:  Now, you call yourself a food activist?

CALLER:  Well, I guess in a way I feel that I am because I’ve seen the truth of what the government tells people in terms of what they should be eating and the disaster that has happened to people. And I’ve seen the difference in my own health and my own life eating essentially the opposite way.

RUSH:  Well, I like exploring language.  You’re a regular listener and you know words mean things to me, and I live in Realville.

CALLER:  Yes, I do.

RUSH:  The word activist, just by itself, to me implies leftist, liberalism.

CALLER:  Exactly.  I understand that.

RUSH:  So you are doing what you’re doing in response to the government.  You’re not engaged in activity demanding, forcing, humiliating, guilting, or whatever other people to do what you do, and you’re not –

CALLER:  No.

RUSH:  — asking the government to use the force of their power to do it.  You’re simply trying to contradict what you think is propaganda coming from the government, right?

CALLER:  Exactly.

RUSH:  Okay.

CALLER:  Exactly.

RUSH:  Well, when you call yourself a food activist, you might confuse people. They might think that you’re active in telling other people how to live.

CALLER:  No, I agree with you, and that could be right. I think the reason I use that word is because when you were speaking yesterday, you were talking about the people on the left and how they want the government to tell us how to eat and all that, and I thought, well, that is true, there are a lot of those people that do that, and I’ve seen the results of that.  But there are a lot of people who I’ve seen, at least in the paleosphere that I call it, who tend toward liberalism, but because they’ve seen their health improve by doing the opposite of what the government has been saying, have started to question that whole paradigm.  They think maybe the government should be telling us what to do, but wait a minute, this has not been working. And I find it’s interesting because I’m a conservative and I end up dealing with a lot of people who are otherwise liberal and I see them start to change their thinking based on their own life experience.

RUSH:  Well, that’s great.  You know what you’re doing?  You’re doing the job the media used to do.  You’re doing the job that the media should be.  The media loves to say that they speak truth to power.  That means holding the powerful accountable.  They have abandoned that for half of the powerful.  If you are a liberal Democrat powerful person, you are not gonna be held accountable, and you’re not gonna be suspected and nobody’s gonna investigate you. Your motives aren’t gonna be questioned. But if you’re Republican it’s the exact opposite.  What you’re doing in simply standing up, wait a second, why should we just automatically believe this because the government says so?  Who is the government?  You’re doing the job the media used to.  And I’m happy to hear that people are reacting to what you’re doing.

CALLER:  Oh, yeah.  And I think it’s really a freedom issue.  And people are starting to realize, wait a minute –

RUSH:  Damn well is.  You’re exactly right.  That’s exactly what it is.

CALLER:  You know, there are all these laws against raw milk, but yet the government will dictate to us other things.  So it just doesn’t make any sense.  I do think it is eye opening to people, and I guess in terms of being an activist, it is more about information.  I want to get the information out there that the government involvement and intrusion and subsidies and certain industries –

RUSH:  Right.

CALLER: — has caused a lot of problems in people’s own health, and people need to understand that. They need their own freedom. They don’t need the government meddling and telling them what to eat.

RUSH:  Exactly right. Look Lee, if you want to call yourself and activist, you go ahead. It’s a nitpick thing with me, but you’re a reactionary in this case, which also carries a negative connotation, by the way, which it shouldn’t. You’re simply reacting. You’re minding your own business one day and the government starts telling you how you must do this or that, you say, “Wait a minute, why?” You’re reacting to it. You’re refusing to swallow it per se, and so you’re standing up for freedom, exactly what you’re doing. A freedom fighter is really what you are.

END TRANSCRIPT

So clearly I am one of Rush’s fans. Perhaps some of you will judge me harshly for that. A few people have “unliked” my Paleo Spirit Facebook page as a result. But I have to be who I am and the truth is The Rush Limbaugh Program has 20 million listeners per week. Regardless of your own political views, or your opinion of the host, I hope you will agree it is important this type of information is getting out to the mainstream. I love the moniker Rush gave me – “freedom fighter”. And that term could apply to many of my fellow health bloggers and anyone else who supports individual liberty!

I look forward to getting comments but I will not approve comments that are unnecessarily inflammatory or veer off into personal attacks.

Thanks for stopping by.

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