Friday, 14 March 2014

Scorn, opinions and marsh gas

Two things on my mind tonight.

The first is scorn.

I started thinking about it yesterday when I was driving out through the Sussex lanes that wind between the hedgerows and the fields.  Scorn.  The family I grew up in was big on scorn.  We held almost everyone who wasn’t us in comprehensive contempt.  The habit of mind travelled with me, entrenched and unquestioned until I reached my thirties, when a friend commented “You’re always so scornful.” It was true, and I’d never noticed before.  I tried after that to be kinder, and less quick to belittle and dismiss.   If I’d thought about it earlier, and if I’d realized how hard it would be to shuck off opinions, I think I’d have gone for giving up scorn for Lent.  Mind you – just for Lent?  Scorn is the kind of thing that should be given up forever.  It sounds like a manufactured food: Nuggets of frozen scorn in crispy breadcrumbs (Ingredients: half-baked self-esteem; bitters).  Yum. Not.

Opinions still proving resistant to eradication.  It’s Buzzfloyd’s Facebook page that’s my undoing.  She posts links to these interesting articles I can’t resist commenting on.  Ooh – talking of ‘interesting’ – this film is wonderful. Well for us fans of Ina May Gaskin it is, anyway.  Oh, I loved every minute of it.

But the second thing (apart from scorn) I’ve been turning over in my mind is to do with liver and the emotions.  I never attained the full Gerson regime, but at least for a couple of weeks I didn’t eat anything it said not to.  After I had my mole chopped out and my general health was clearly good, I relaxed the Gerson idea but actually found it had made me so well I that went back to the principles of it.  One of a variety of health benefits it offered is steady detoxification of the liver.    As this has progressed I’ve noticed the appearance of free-range unconnected emotion.  Sometimes happiness (light, happy effervescent), sometimes sadness (intense, dragging despair).  I have no idea where these emotions come from, they seem to be unconnected to anything, bubbling up like marsh gas, eventually to disperse and float away.


San said...

Chuckling over here!

Tried the link for the Ina May Gaskin film and it wouldn't work. Did you watch the trailer or the whole film?

Keep Calm and Keep On (Not) Opining!


Ros said...

"She posts links to these interesting articles I can’t resist commenting on." I find the most frustrating FB posts are the ones you can see but can't comment on. (Like one today about double spaces. I was desperate to post about how interesting I found it all...)

Meanwhile, your blogs have sent my insatiable curiosity all over the internet in recent weeks. As a result, I have discovered that the concept of liver detoxification is regarded as decidedly unscientific. But I have also discovered that:

1) There are more vitamins and minerals in whole fruit and vegetables than there are in just the juice. Hence, on a less restricted diet than Gerson (which provides vast amounts of both), whole fruits and vegetables would seem to be better for us than juice.

2) Evidence suggests that higher intakes of fruit and vegetables tend towards a greater life expectancy, although the reasons why are not clear at present. The evidence for this seems to be stronger than that suggesting that diets high in saturated fat are bad for us.

3) Coffee has some interesting biochemical effects on the immune system - some of which might be favourable in some kinds of cancer. However, for the same reason, it might also aggravate the problems caused by low levels of vitamin B12.

4) Clearly, coffee also has a significant effect on the brain. Caffeine is easily absorbed from the gut into all the tissues of the body. It crosses the blood-brain barrier extremely easily and affects the action of a number of neurotransmitters.

5) Supplementation of B vitamins - particularly B12 - is essential in Gerson therapy to counteract the lack of animal protein and grains. These vitamins are essential to the nervous system and tend to be lacking in highly refined foods unless those foods have been fortified with them (e.g. white bread and breakfast cereals).

6) Enemas can be positively dangerous for some people, especially if they don't know what they are doing.

All this suggests to me that:

1) The combined biochemical effects of increasing one's intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and increasing one's intake of coffee might, in some cases, favour recovery from cancer.

2) The biochemical effects of increased intake of coffee on the brain are likely to lead to a sense of increased energy and wellbeing (the well-known caffeine 'high'). This doesn't necessarily make coffee a bad thing. On the contrary, it can help relieve depression.

3) The supplementation of B vitamins in Gerson therapy may well have positive effects on the nervous and hormonal systems for those who were already lacking these vitamins.

4) The removal of certain "toxins" from the diet (e.g. gluten, lactose...) will also have favourable effects on the wellbeing of some individuals. However, for others, who are able to tolerate these substances, this will have little effect. For example, there are significant racial differences in the ability to digest lactose. So, for some, dairy products might provide valuable nutrients without harm.

5) The claim that Gerson therapy is fully natural is undermined by the fact that it relies on supplementation of nutrients missing from the allowed foods and that it encourages the absorption of coffee via enema. Naturally, I think we would consume a diet containing all essential nutrients and take in these nutrients by mouth.

So I'm curious - as in genuinely interested. Do you like coffee? Did you drink it before Gerson? Would you attribute any of your increased energy to the effects of caffeine on the brain? Which of Gerson's principles are you now following? How do you see them as helping you? (If you'd prefer not to answer for Lenten or other reasons, no problem).

Pen Wilcock said...

San - sorry the link wouldn't work for you. If you Google "birth story movie Ina May Gaskin" you'll find it easily.

Ros - - cripes, that was thorough!!
Erm . . . where do I start?
Thing 1 - commenting on double spacing: I'm sure you know - you can comment on a post only if you are the Facebook friend of the person who posted it, and that can indeed be frustrating at times! You could always send Tony a Friend Request f course. He's a bit cautious who he lets through the gate, but he'll see this thread too, and will understand who you are when he gets the request.

Thing 2 - Gerson and the internet. Be very wary of anything you see posted on the internet *about* Gerson therapy and the Gerson clinic but not *my* them (apart from The Beautiful Truth which is excellent). The Gerson clinic typically takes people who have tried everything else and are dying, and snatches them back, restoring them to full health. Understandably the are no loved well by other institutions who follow a more conventional route, or speak from a position of vested commercial interest. It's a good case of the old Chinese proverb that those who say something can't be done shouldn't interrupt those who are doing it.

Gerson therapy is very exact and specific in its advice. and all that advice is clinically tested and developed over decades of treating seriously ill people - and you can bet if they were quacks or charlatans their opponents would have gloated about that all over the internet long before now.

Gerson therapy is for people who are very ill. Don't fall into the trap of confusing the rescue package with the maintenance recommendation (all available for study on the internet, as you've already found).

Where disenchantment is expressed about Gerson it's usually from people who aren't doing what it says, but have tweaked it into something quite different.

About the coffee - on to your last paragraph and questions now. I am not a great coffee drinker but I did drink it occasionally before Gerson. I know the effect of caffeine and can detect it in connection with coffee enemas if I make the mix too strong. But I can also detect something completely different, nothing to do with caffeine and everything to do with detoxification.

You asked which Gerson principles am I now following. I am doing a coffee enema a couple of times a week. I am following the diet recommended for people who have recovered or where not ill in the first place, cooked as recommended. I am having one or two glasses of juice (fresh, home-made, organic, special juicer) each day.

I have tracked down a number of small, apparently unrelated health niggles as originating from liver problems. I will watch to see if these resolve. I've had long-standing problems with desperate tiredness, very low energy, extreme emotional sensitivity and depression: the Gerson diet addresses these well, creating calm, cheerfulness, energy and level mood. I've a longstanding bad relationship with sugar - let's call that addiction. Gerson breaks the cycle and stops all the familiar bad results. I think I would have inevitably become diabetic - now I think I won't.

That's probably enough to be going on with . . .

Pen Wilcock said...

San - you asked did I watch the while movie - yes, I bought it as a download and watched it all. x

Tony Collins said...

Ros, you would be most welcome to join my friends! Send me a request. Tony

Pen Wilcock said...

Ooh - re what Gerson principles we are following here - we are distilling our water too.

Tony Collins said...

Further thoughts. As you observe, you have become much less vulnerable to despair, and more generally to depression; your energy levels are impressive.

In addition, the juice has proved a really valuable food source, in that it makes you feel you have consumed a good meal. I interpret this to mean that we are accessing more easily the proteins and enzymes in the fruit and veg.

The other point is that it tastes quite delicious and our consumption of fruit and veg has risen sharply.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pen :-)

I am a Spanish expat in Australia who has followed your blog with interest for some time now, after enjoying reading several of your books.

Regarding this most interesting issue of opinions, I have a little thought (/opinion LOL); I wonder whether the problem is not so much having an opinion as treating an opinion as if it was a fact. For instance, I would say that it is one thing to say 'I don't like the colour purple' (and one could add a reason, for example 'because it is the colour of the car that hit ours when I was four years old', or 'because it reminds me of eggplants/aubergines, which give me a stomach ache'), and another to say 'The colour purple is hideous'. The second one appears to be a fact, while it is, in fact, an opinion disguised as a fact.

In my way of seeing it, stating clear opinions is not necessarily to be avoided, as it is a matter of preference and, as such, it is acceptable and it should be accepted. However, when we present opinions as facts we run the risk of negatively affecting others (I am thinking of our children, but it could be adults as well), for they may just believe the opinion as one can a fact, thus being robbed of their freedom to choose (to have their own opinion haha).

Anyway, it is getting a bit late on the eastern parts of down under, so I hope I am making some sense. I understand that you may not be in a position to comment on this for a while yet, but I would be interested in your thoughts whenever you can (assuming you are interested in thinking about this!).



Ros said...

'Ros - - cripes, that was thorough!!'

Yes < red face > It was rather long and I seriously wondered whether I should post it at all. I hope you don't mind? It's what happens when I get genuinely interested in something. Thank you for taking the time to respond :)

The interest stems, of course, from my own health problems, which have been battering me rather more than usual in recent weeks... Meanwhile, Glastonbury is the kind of place where all manner of things will be suggested to someone like me, to whom the medical profession can only offer limited help, and Gerson has been among them. So I was interested to hear of your experiences.

'Be very wary of anything you see posted on the internet *about* Gerson therapy and the Gerson clinic but not *my* them (apart from The Beautiful Truth which is excellent).'

I read stuff from both sides of the fence, as well as from up on the chimney pot! I do so because that's what my education has taught me to do and because I have found that this is what is most likely to get me to the heart of the matter. However, I do try to filter out scorn ;) So if I read something that (in a nutshell) says 'Gerson is unscientific and there is no evidence that coffee does X', then I will answer that with the knowledge that some people have benefited from this therapy and hence arrive at the question: 'What is it that coffee *has* been found to do?' And that's the kind of question that usually leads me to what I would regard as good science. For me, this is important. My training (albeit limited) was in medical science. So I guess it's natural for me to look for peer-reviewed scientific papers to tell me what I want to know - and to become frustrated when 'The Beautiful Truth' (note the word truth) doesn't tell me. (Never have a scientist for a friend, Pen! They can never stop asking questions and they are never satisfied with the answers!)

I won't continue to bore you with what else I've found now. Just to say that I don't dismiss Gerson. On the contrary, I'm extremely curious to know why it works when it does! (Same as I have always been extremely curious to know what triggered my ME and was extremely excited when the B12 presented me with what I think might be part of the answer). However, I also have enough faith in the medical profession to believe that, if Gerson really were the amazing cure that it is claimed by some to be, it would have been taken a lot more seriously by now. After all, doctors, scientists... even the directors of pharmaceutical companies... all know someone who has died of cancer. A fair few of them will have been through terrible grief as a result. And that says to me that, if Gerson really were as powerful as "The Beautiful Truth" claims, every doctor/biochemist with even a trace of humanity in them would be studying and recommending it.

The conclusion? Just because something isn't the cure it is touted to be doesn't mean it is useless. Life is rarely that simple. People most certainly aren't! So I'm glad it is helping you :) All I would say is what I say to all my friends who are on a diet low in animal protein: 'Please, please, please make sure you get enough B12!!' I know I probably sound like a fussy old woman saying that, but it's only because I know what low levels can do!

Meanwhile, inspired by your good self, I am trying to improve my own diet. I am fortunate in as much as I *don't* have a problem with sugar or salt. Quite the opposite in fact. My main problem has been lack of energy and hence lack of imagination. But I'm getting there... Thank you for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

I have noticed that dysfunctional families have a way of creating a self-protective microcosm,a tainted climate that its members can sadly sometimes only feel safe and normal within. It seems to be a blessed and determined few who can see the light of day outside that system and successfully relocate. But the battle of cutting loose from unhealthy foundations to build a shelter on new and healthy ground can unfortunately rage on in subtle and often unconscious ways. I applaud you for the work that you have done to bring yourself into consciousness, and for diligence in keeping to the light.

Pen Wilcock said...

Yes - I guess we all tend to find our way home to what feels familiar; creating new tracks is a long business. x