BD Now! 037 Andrew Fisher Author of “Big Hunger: The Unholy Alliance Between Corporate American and Anti-Hunger Groups”

Andrew Fisher is the author of “Big Hunger: Corporate Americans Unholy Alliance with the Anti-Hunger Groups”

Big Hunger reveals the damage caused by (the) hunger-industrial complex, and offers a new vision for the anti-hunger movement to eliminate hunger through a focus on health, economic justice and local economies.

Andrew Fisher

Andrew Fisher has worked in the anti-hunger field for twenty-five years, as the executive director of national and local food groups, and as a researcher, organizer, policy advocate, and coalition builder. He has led successful efforts to gain passage of multiple pieces of federal food and nutrition legislation.

Fisher is an activist, NGO consultant, and an adjunct teacher at Portland University in Oregon. His book, Big Hunger, is the launch for a new vision for how to untangle corporate interests from food banks and the anti-hunger movement.

In 1994, Andy Fisher co-founded and led the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC), a first of its kind national alliance of hundreds of groups working on urban food access and local food. Fisher led CFSC as Executive Director for 15 years, creating and gaining momentum for the concept of community food security while building the food movement as a whole. He successfully led advocacy efforts and passage of crucial federal nutrition legislation to address food security, including the establishment of the Community Food Projects and Farm to School grants. Fisher is an expert on a variety of food system topics and tactics, including food policy councils, community food assessments, healthy corner stores, coalition building, and farm to cafeteria programs.

The 2016 election reminded us of the depth of economic insecurity across America, and of the political implications that come from ignoring this populist angst. The decline of Rust Belt communities since the 1980s has been paralleled by the rapid growth of food banks. Instead of challenging the government and corporations to provide living wages and good jobs, to support unions and oppose globalization, the anti-hunger movement has instead built alliances with Walmart, Tyson, and Monsanto, among other socially irresponsible companies. Big Hunger reveals the damage caused by this hunger-industrial complex, and offers a new vision for the anti-hunger movement to eliminate hunger through a focus on health, economic justice and local economies.

 

 

SHOW NOTES

More information on Andrew Fisher and Big Hunger here at the Big Hunger website

Big Hunger at MIT Press

Interview with Andy Fisher at Civil Eats

DOWNLOAD this episode here

Biodynamics Now! theme music is Ginseng No 2 from Dr James A. Duke’s Herbalbum

 

BD Now! 036 Michael Phillips, Organic Orchardist and Author of “Mycorrhizal Planet: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility”

Organic orchardist Michael Phillips is the author of “Mycorrhizal Planet”

Michael Phillips is a farmer, writer, carpenter, orchard consultant, and speaker who lives with his wife, Nancy, and daughter, Grace, on Heartsong Farm in northern New Hampshire, where they grow apples and a variety of medicinal herbs. Michael is the author of The Apple Grower (Chelsea Green, 2005) and The Holistic Orchard (2011), and teamed up with Nancy to write The Herbalist’s Way (2005). His Lost Nation Orchard is part of the Holistic Orchard Network, and Michael also leads the community orchard movement at www.GrowOrganicApples.com

Mycorrhizal fungi have been waiting a long time for people to recognize just how important they are to the making of dynamic soils. These microscopic organisms partner with the root systems of approximately 95 percent of the plants on Earth, and they sequester carbon in much more meaningful ways than human “carbon offsets” will ever achieve. Pick up a handful of old-growth forest soil and you are holding 26 miles of threadlike fungal mycelia, if it could be stretched it out in a straight line. Most of these soil fungi are mycorrhizal, supporting plant health in elegant and sophisticated ways. The boost to green immune function in plants and community-wide networking turns out to be the true basis of ecosystem resiliency. A profound intelligence exists in the underground nutrient exchange between fungi and plant roots, which in turn determines the nutrient density of the foods we grow and eat.

Exploring the science of symbiotic fungi in layman’s terms, holistic farmer Michael Phillips sets the stage for practical applications across the landscape. The real impetus behind no-till farming, gardening with mulches, cover cropping, digging with broadforks, shallow cultivation, forest-edge orcharding, and everything related to permaculture is to help the plants and fungi to prosper . . . which means we prosper as well.

Building soil structure and fertility that lasts for ages results only once we comprehend the nondisturbance principle. As the author says, “What a grower understands, a grower will do.” Mycorrhizal Planet abounds with insights into “fungal consciousness” and offers practical, regenerative techniques that are pertinent to gardeners, landscapers, orchardists, foresters, and farmers. Michael’s fungal acumen will resonate with everyone who is fascinated with the unseen workings of nature and concerned about maintaining and restoring the health of our soils, our climate, and the quality of life on Earth for generations to come

 

DOWNLOAD this PODCAST HERE!

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SHOW NOTES

Michael Phillip’s author page at Chelsea Green Press

Michael Phillip’s website

Community Holistic Apple Growers

Suzanne Simard (“Mother Trees”) TED Talk on “How Trees Talk to Each Other”

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BD Now! 035 Julian Palmer, Plant Medicine Investigator and Author of “Articulations: On the Utilisation and Meanings of Psychedelics”

Julian Palmer is a classic citizen scientist and author of “Articulations”

Julian Palmer, the original formulator of changa, was born in North East Victoria Australia, where his father worked as an agricultural journalist and editor.

In his early 20’s, he explored many forms of spiritual inquiry, practiced purification of intent and worked in web design and multimedia.

After moving to the far north coast of NSW when he was 24, he quickly got seriously into psychedelics and since that time hasn’t really stopped exploring and learning about them and the states they could catalyze.

Julians book “Articulations” is a catalog of his life work up to this point. It sums up about everything he wants to say about psychedelics. His next projects involve creating innovate film erotica and exploring indigenous psychoactive plants that are unknown to the western mind. Continue reading

BD Now! 034 Elizabeth Henderson & Steven McFadden Discuss The CSA Charter

Elizabeh Henderson & Steven McFadden in conversation about the new CSA Charter

Real CSAs are in a crises because savvy entrepreneurs have established numerous non-local, non-wholesome non-quality food distrubution schemes that have pushed Real CSAs out of the very market they created.  Consumers and small sustainable farms are the big losers here. The CSA Charter  is a way Real CSAs can identify themselves to local consumers. The CSA Charter is a way that consumers can make sure that they spend their food dollars in a way that supports better health and a better environment.

CSA experts Elizabeth Henderson and Steven McFadden in conversation about the new CSA Charter. Continue reading

BD Now! Episode 33 Michael Ableman “Street Farm: Street Farm Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier

 

Michael Ableman is the author of the Chelsea Green Press book “Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier.”

Street Farm is the inspirational account of residents in the notorious Low Track in Vancouver, British Columbia—one of the worst urban slums in North America—who joined together to create an urban farm as a means of addressing the chronic problems in their neighborhood. It is a story of recovery, of land and food, of people, and of the power of farming and nourishing others as a way to heal our world and ourselves.

Michael Ableman is a farmer, author, photographer and urban and local food systems advocate. Michael has been farming organically since the early 1970′s and is considered one of the pioneers of the organic farming and urban agriculture movements. He is a frequent lecturer to audiences all over the world, and the winner of numerous awards for his work. Ableman is the author of four trade published books: From the Good Earth: A celebration of growing food around the world; On Good Land: The autobiography of an urban farm; Fields of Plenty: A farmer’s journey in search of real food and the people who grow it, and most recently Street Farm; Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier. Michael Ableman is the founder of the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens in Goleta, California where he farmed for 20 years; co-founder and director of Sole Food Street Farms and the charity Cultivate Canada in Vancouver, British Columbia; and founder and director of the Center for Arts, Ecology and Agriculture based at his family home and farm on Salt Spring Island.

During the past seven years, Sole Food Street Farms—now North America’s largest urban farm project—has transformed acres of vacant and contaminated urban land into street farms that grow artisan-quality fruits and vegetables. By providing jobs, agricultural training, and inclusion in a community of farmers and food lovers, the Sole Food project has empowered dozens of individuals with limited resources who are managing addiction and chronic mental health problems.

Sole Food’s mission is to encourage small farms in every urban neighborhood so that good food can be accessible to all, and to do so in a manner that allows everyone to participate in the process. In Street Farm, author-photographer-farmer Michael Ableman chronicles the challenges, growth, and success of this groundbreaking project and presents compelling portraits of the neighborhood residents-turned-farmers whose lives have been touched by it. Throughout, he also weaves his philosophy and insights about food and farming, as well as the fundamentals that are the underpinnings of success for both rural farms and urban farms. Street Farm will inspire individuals and communities everywhere by providing a clear vision for combining innovative farming methods with concrete social goals, all of which aim to create healthier and more resilient communities.

Street Farm Facts

Sole Food Street Farms consists of five separate sites in Vancouver, including the largest urban orchard in North America. All sites are paved land and crops are grown in soil flled growing boxes. The overall yield of this growing system is 15 to 25 times higher than conventional “open field” growing systems.
• 4.5 total acres of paved urban land
• 75 people employed from 2009 to present
• 8,000 containers used to grow fruits and vegetables
• 50,000 pounds of food produced annually
• $1.7M+ total sales revenue (2009-2016)
• $300,000 in annual wages paid to employees
• $20,000 estimated annual loss of Sole Food crops due to rodent damage (rats like vegetables, too)
• $2.20 estimated savings to the health care, legal, and social assistance systems for every dollar paid to Sole Food employees (Queens University study, 2013)
• $150,000+ raised annually to support the Sole Food program
• $46M per day of taxpayer money spent to subsidize large-scale industrial farming

DOWNLOAD MICHAEL ABLEMAN PODCAST HERE

SHOW NOTES

Michael Ableman’s Website

Chelsea Green Publishing STREET FARM site 

Sole Food Street Farms Website

Agrarian Elders Conference at Esalen

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BD Now! 032 Dmitry Orlov “Shrinking the Technosphere”

Have you ever wanted an excuse to escape from the madness of the Modern World and become a homesteader in Siberia? This book will provide you all the encouragement (and much of the know-how!) that you’ll need.

Shrinking the Technosphere guides readers through the process of bringing technology down to a manageable number of carefully chosen, essential, well-understood and controllable elements. It is about regaining the freedom to use technology for our own benefit, and is critical reading for all who seek to get back to a point where technologies assist us rather than control us.

Dmitry Orlov was born in Leningrad, USSR, into an academic family, and emigrated to the US in the mid-1970s. He holds degrees in Computer Engineering and Linguistics, and has worked in a variety of fields, including high-energy physics, Internet commerce, network security and advertising. He is the best-selling author of several previous books, including Reinventing Collapse and The Five Stages of Collapse.

Download the BD Now! Podcast Interview MP3 HERE

SHOW NOTES

Dmytri Orlov’s Blog and Information site HERE

BD Now! Podcast 031 Steven McFadden – Reiki

Steven McFadden of Santa Fe discusses the healing art of Reiki

Welcome to Episode 31 of the Biodynamics Now! Investigative Farming and Restorative Nutrition podcast. Your host is Allan Balliett.

Our guest today is Long time friend of the B!iodynamics Now! Podcast, Steven McFadden of Santa Fe, New Mexico Steven is the  director of Chiron Communications, an enterprise offering keys for the health of human beings and the earth. He has been writing about CSA farms since their inception in the U.S. in the late 1980s. Among  other abilities he has developed to counsel and heal his fellow human beings, he is a RAYKEE Master of long standing, He has taught the Reiki healing techniques to hundreds of students across North and Central America.

Reiki, pronounced “ray key,” is a gentle technique for healing by the laying-on of hands. Knowlege of Reiki healing techniques belong in every home healing kit since it is a healing art available to all human beings and, once learned, it can be applied– at no monetary cost to the practitioner– to heal and comfort others whenever necessary Reiki has an established track record of reducing stress, relieving pain, and supporting the healing process.

 

You can download Episode 31 HERE

 

SHOW NOTES

Steve’s website for Chiron-Communications is HERE

BD Now! Podcast 030 Dr Thomas Cowan, M.D., Author of “Human Heart, Cosmic Heart”

On December 18, 2016 Dr Mercola posted the following excellent interview with Athroposophic physician Dr Thomas Cowan  entitled “A New Way of Looking at Heart Disease and Novel Treatment Options” I interviewed Dr Cowan myself in November, but Dr Mercola has done such an excellent job of illuminating Dr Cowan’s insights that I think it’s best to offer Dr Mercola’s interview in full here. My own interview is likely to only add confusion.  (You can visit Dr Mercola’s valueable site for a whole lot more information on natural health and healing through the link above.)

Rudolf Steiner, founder of Anthroposophic Medicine as well as Biodynamic Agriculture,  (Dr Cowan is an Anthroposophic doctor) was responsible for introducing the “Heart is Not a Pump” concepts that are central to portions of Dr Cowan’s book.

In 1932, Bremer of Harvard filmed the blood in the very early embryo circulating in self-propelled mode in spiralling streams before the heart was functioning. Amazingly, he was so impressed with the spiralling nature of the blood flow pattern that he failed to realize that the phenomena before him had demolished the pressure propulsion principle. Earlier in 1920, Steiner, of the Goetheanum in Switzerland had pointed out in lectures to medical doctors that the heart was not a pump forcing inert blood to move with pressure but that the blood was propelled with its own biological momentum, as can be seen in the embryo, and boosts itself with “induced” momenta from the heart. He also stated that the pressure does not cause the blood to circulate but is caused by interrupting the circulation. Experimental corroboration of Steiner’s concepts in the embryo and adult is herein presented.

 

For more of a Steiner feeling on this topic, you can find the full paper (The Heart Is Not A Pump: A Refutation Of The Pressure Propulsion Premise Of Heart Function ) I drew the above abastract from Here

Feel free to leave any questions this interview/article creates for you at the end of this post. Dr Cowan has offered to answer any/all for us!

This informative but easy-to-read book, Human Heart, Cosmic Heart, was published by Chelsea Green.

By Dr. Mercola

We have an epidemic of heart disease in this country and the conventional treatments, such as the use of statin drugs and surgeries involving artery bypasses and stents, typically do not work well. So, what does?

Dr. Thomas Cowan is a family physician and a founding member of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

In his book, “Human Heart, Cosmic Heart: A Doctor’s Quest to Understand, Treat, and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease,” which is also available as an audiobook from Audible, he helps answer that question.

It’s a fascinating book, and not overly technical, making it an excellent addition to any layman’s health library.

“Basically, the book has three parts,” Cowan says. “For whatever reason, my destiny in my career is that I take on some of the biggest accepted wisdoms … [and] I try to figure out whether they’re actually true or not. 

The first part is my [personal] story … [In] the second part, I examine the theory that the heart is a pump. I say that the heart is not a pump. Then I explain why the blood moves and what the heart is doing, and the interesting ramifications of that. 

The third part is … [about] what causes heart attacks … Here is an interesting point: I learned in medical school there were four major coronary arteries. In some places, it says three. In some places, it says two. 

Even the basics of how many major coronary arteries we have is actually in dispute. It’s a matter of semantics.” 

 

Questioning the Role of Arterial Plaque in Heart Attacks

Regardless of the exact number, conventional wisdom states that the coronary arteries, i.e., major blood vessels, supply all of the blood flow to the heart. If one or more of them gets blocked with plaque, a bottleneck forms that prevents blood from getting through.

The area downstream from that blockage doesn’t get any blood, and hence no oxygen or nutrients. The first indication that this is occurring is pain, which we call angina. As the problem progresses, the pain worsens, which is called unstable angina. Eventually, if left untreated, you end up with a heart attack.

The field of cardiology is primarily focused on getting rid of the plaque, whether by using stents, doing bypasses, angioplasties, lowering cholesterol (since the plaque is supposedly caused by excess cholesterol), or putting the patient on a low-fat diet.

“[Conventionally], it’s all about the plaque,” Cowan says. “My point in the book is that it’s NOT about the plaque.”

 

The Problem With Viewing the Heart as a Pump

Cardiologists and doctors in general are taught that the walls of the heart create pressure, which causes propulsion of the blood through the body. In essence, the heart is viewed as a pump — a pressure propulsion system caused by the muscular contraction of the ventricles.

However, your body actually contains an enormous amount of blood vessels. Most of the blood vessels in your heart and body are capillaries, which are very thin-walled, very narrow tubes.

If you were to spread these blood vessels out, they would cover three football fields. If you were to place the blood vessels end to end, in a series, they would encircle the Earth between one and three times.

“The pump theory is you have a 1-pound, somewhat thin-walled organ, and it’s going to pump [blood] around the Earth every single day for 70 years; 60 to 70 times a minute. That 1-pound, thin-walled organ can [supposedly] generate enough pressure [to do that] by squeezing … 

Frankly, that’s ridiculous. But it actually gets worse than that. If you do a flow velocity diagram, it turns out that the blood is moving the fastest at the heart, both before and after the heart. 

As it goes into the arterioles and then the smaller arteries, it gets to the capillaries … [where] it actually stops and does a little shimmy, or it goes very slow, depending on who you believe … The analogy is, a narrow river goes fast and when it goes out into a wetland, it goes very slow. 

It has to go slow — it has to stop almost — to exchange the gasses and the food. So not only are we pushing all the way around the Earth, but halfway around our travel, we stop and then we get going again. You’re expecting that to be all from the push from behind … 

It even gets worse than that because we have an outflow tube of the left ventricle called the aortic arch … which is shaped like McDonald’s arch. The blood goes from the left ventricle, out the aortic valve, through the arch, then down to the body. 

The analogy here is if you stick a similarly shaped arched garden hose off your spigot outside your house, and then turn it on really hard, which recreates the pumping … you would expect the garden hose to straighten out because if you put pressure, the arch would straighten. 

In fact, you can look on any angiogram and catheterization and you can see that arch actually bends in a little bit during systole, which from a pressure propulsion model makes absolutely no sense at all.”

 

The Hydraulic Ram Model of the Heart

Clearly, if your heart stops beating, you won’t live very long, but if the heart isn’t actually pumping the blood, how does it work? In his book, Cowan describes the heart as a hydraulic ram, which he explains thus:

“What does the heart do? The blood is moving fast. It comes into the heart. The heart stops the blood, and like a hydraulic ram, it holds it back. The walls expand. The pressure differential happens, and then it opens the gate and comes out.

More so when the blood is in the heart, because of the unique shape of the heart … The heart is a vortex-creating machine … [I]t has these trabeculae (fibers) inside the heart. Each area of the trabeculae is connected with a certain part of the body. 

[One] area of the heart is connected with the spleen, another area of the inner part of the heart is connected with the foot, and so on.

The blood comes in and these areas of the heart create their individual spirals, and package up certain parts of the blood, like the old red blood cells, into a vortex and send it to the spleen, whereas another part sends the fresh new red blood cells up to the brain. 

If there’s a cut on your leg, it dissolves some of the inner fibers, puts that in a vortex and sends that to the cut on your leg. It’s so wild. Again, there’s an article about this on my website, as hard as it is to believe, that actually documents that in very clear terminology how this happens.”

 

What’s Water Got to Do With It?

Interestingly, the work of Gerald Pollack, author of “The Fourth Phase of Water,” was instrumental in helping Cowan understand the function of the heart and how blood flows if it isn’t being pushed or pumped by the heart.

First off, if any pumping action were to be involved, it would actually have to occur at the capillaries because that’s where the blood stops and needs to get moving again. However, the solution nature came up with is far simpler. As the blood moves up the venous tree, the blood vessels narrow and eventually coalesce to come back to the heart.

This narrowing of the vessels makes the blood flow faster, in and of itself. Valves and muscular contractions also play a role. However, the primary way blood moves has to do with water. As Pollack has described, water can exist in four phases, not just three. The fourth phase of water is formed by the interaction of water and a hydrophilic surface.

“What happens with that is you form a gel layer, or protective layer, on that hydrophilic surface, which is negatively charged. Therefore, the opposite of positive charge is dissolved into the bulk water in the middle of the tube (capillary or blood vessel) … All you need is a hydrophilic tube, which forms a gel layer, which is negatively charged, and then the bulk water is positively charged. The positive charges repel each other and that starts the flow going up the hill,” Cowan explains.

 

Sun, Earth and the Human Touch — Three Key Principles for Healthy Blood Flow

Pollack has also clearly demonstrated there are three natural energies that result in separation of charges that create flow:

1. Sunlight charges up your blood vessels, which increases the flow of blood. When the sun’s rays penetrate your skin, it causes a massive increase of nitric oxide that acts as a vasodilator. As much as 60 percent of your blood can be shunted to the surface of your skin through the action of nitric oxide. This helps absorb solar radiation, which then causes the water in your blood to capture the energy and become structured.

This is a key component for a healthy heart. The ideal is to be exposed to the sun while grounding, meaning walking barefoot. This forms a biological circuit that makes it work even better.

2. Negative ions from the Earth, also known as earthing or grounding. This also charges up your blood vessels, creates a separation of charges, creates more positive ions and allows the blood to flow upward, against gravity.

3. The field effect or touch from another living being, such as laying on of hands.

As noted by Cowan, “The best thing is to be, more or less, with shorts or naked on the beach, with the saltwater, which acts as an electrical conductor, holding hands with somebody you love. That’s how you structure the water.” Sun exposure, grounding, and skin-to-skin contact are three prevention strategies that, ideally, everyone should be doing. It doesn’t get a whole lot easier or less expensive than that.

“The water is a battery. Those inputs separate the charges, charge the battery, the battery does work and it starts flow. That flow, just through Bernoulli’s principle, which is the wider it is, the slower it goes, [when it] narrows, it goes faster. That is the reason the blood moves, in a nutshell.”

 

Does Plaque Really Cause Heart Attacks?

As mentioned, Cowan does not ascribe to the plaque theory of heart disease. Instead, he makes a strong case for heart disease being a problem rooted in mitochondrial dysfunction. What’s wrong with the plaque theory? For starters, if plaque were responsible, there would have to be something in the blood or blood vessels causing the plaque, such as cholesterol or inflammation.

And, since all blood vessels are identical — there’s no difference between the splenic artery, the femoral artery or the coronary artery, for example — if there’s plaque in one artery, there should be plaque everywhere, and an attack should theoretically occur just about anywhere in the body, depending on where the blockage is. Yet people do not have “spleen attacks,” or “foot attacks,” which would be the result of a bottleneck of plaque forming near these organs.

“There is such a thing as renal artery ischemia. But basically, there are only two organs that have attacks. The brain, we call that a stroke, and the heart, we call that a myocardial infraction (MI) or a heart attack,” Cowan says.

“Why not the other organs? Because that suggests there’s something different about those organs. It’s not the blood vessels because the blood vessels, they’re the same. There’s something different about the heart and the brain that’s causing the attacks. It’s not the blood flow.” 

In the ’40s and ’50s when the plaque theory began to emerge, most cardiologists rejected it, noting there’s massive collateral circulation between the coronary arteries and this massive network of fine blood vessels. It doesn’t really matter whether one area gets blocked or not, because the whole thing is like the wetlands; it will simply compensate for a blockage in one area by increasing blood flow elsewhere.

What’s Wrong With the Plaque Theory?

Post-mortem autopsy studies — which are available on Cowan’s website, humanheartcosmicheart.com — looking at arterial blockages in the area leading to the part that had an attack showed that only 18 percent were actually blocked. That means that in 82 percent of cases, a blocked artery was NOT the cause of the heart attack.

So, what caused it? In another study, 66 percent of normal 50-year-olds who died in car accidents were found to have a one or more, greater than 90 percent stenosis or blockage of a coronary artery! Yet none of them had any symptoms.

“I’m not saying blockages are good. I’m not saying plaque is good. What I am saying is it’s nowhere near sufficient to explain why people have heart attacks,” Cowan says

“Every week somebody comes in and says ‘I’m not feeling as well as I used to. I have some chest pain, a little shortness of breath walking up the hills. I went on a 5-mile walk yesterday and I’m not doing as well as I used to. I went to the cardiologist. He did tests and found I have a 95 percent blockage in one of my coronary arteries. He said if it blocks any more, I’ll have a heart attack and die… [and that I] better have a stent or an angioplasty.’

I think to myself, No. 1, if all of the blood flow comes through these coronary arteries and he’s got 95 percent blockage of this major vessel, how did he walk up this 5-mile hill? In fact, how is he even standing upright if he’s got less than 5 percent blood flow to a major part of his heart? 

So, you mean to tell me if he blocks from 5 percent to 2 percent, that’s it? Curtains in, you die? The reality is 5 percent is 0 percent, and blocking to 2 percent is the same as 0 percent. It’s very clear that the theory that the blood squeezes through the bottle neck in the vessel is complete nonsense. 

The blood does not squeeze through the bottleneck. It bypasses it. It goes through these collateral vessels and the flow is more or less normal, although there is some problem in the heart, but it’s not because of that blockage. That’s why the Mayo Clinic and other studies, when they unblock the blockage, it doesn’t do any good for the patient.”

In Cowan’s view, there is only a small subset of patients that might benefit from bypass intervention, specifically if you have a greater than 90 percent stenosis (blockage) of the proximal part (the early part) of the left anterior descending (the primary artery that supplies blood to your heart).

The Real Cause of Heart Attacks

If a blockage isn’t the cause of the heart attack, then what is? Cowan makes a strong case for three basic causes of heart attacks, in the following order of importance or likelihood:

1. Decreased parasympathetic tone followed by sympathetic nervous system activation. You have two nervous systems, a central and an autonomic. Your autonomic nervous system has two arms: the sympathetic fight-or-flight, and the parasympathetic, which governs rest and digestion.

Decreased parasympathetic tone results from stressdiabeteshigh blood pressure and other factors, including emotional and psychological ones. That’s the first thing that happens. Then, while under the influence of a low parasympathetic tone, you experience some sort of emotional, psychological or physical stress that activates your sympathetic nervous system.

This shifts your cell metabolism from the mitochondria to the cytoplasm, meaning the cells in your heart shift from using fat for fuel, to generating fuel in a glycolytic way through the fermentation of sugar. Once that glycolytic shift occurs, you enter into glycolytic metabolism where you burn sugar for fuel and make lactic acid. As in other muscles, lactic acid in the heart muscle causes the telltale cramps and pain known as angina.

Since your heart cannot stop contracting to allow the blood flow to flush out the lactic acid, the lactic acid builds up, causing localized metabolic acidosis that necroses or destroys the cardiac tissue. Also, when the tissue becomes acidic, calcium cannot enter the tissue. As a result, the heart muscle cannot contract properly.

Next, pressure in the arteries embedded in the non-moving area of your heart builds, which then breaks off little pieces. These are the “clots” conventional cardiology believes are the cause of the heart attack.

But the clots are not due to plaque, they’re the result of pressure in the non-moving area of your heart, which is the result of not getting calcium into the cells, which is the result of lactic acid forming from the altered metabolism in the heart. This chain of events, Cowan believes, is the real cause of most heart attacks.

2. Collateral circulation failure. Diabetes, smoking and high-stress all affect collateral circulation, not major blood vessels, and all of these are known to raise your risk of a heart attack.

3. Particularly badly placed plaque formation. This is not the norm, but could occur.

Indeed, one of the problems with using carbohydrates as a primary fuel — which a majority of people in the West are doing — is that it generates more reactive oxygen species (ROS) and secondary free radicals. Chronically, this will cause mitochondrial damage. I like to simplify it by saying that carbs are dirty fuels — dirty in the sense that they generate excessive amounts of free radicals that poison the mitochondria.

It’s this dirty fuel — the net carbs — that creates fermentation metabolism and subsequent lactic acid production. The answer is not to take more antioxidants. The answer is to reduce the production of free radicals by reducing net carbs and increasing the amount of healthy dietary fats you eat.

This is a core tenet of a healthy diet, and if you understand Cowan’s explanation above, and how carbs act as a dirty fuel, you’ll have a good understanding of why a high-sugar diet causes heart disease and heart attacks.

Treatment Alternative for Heart Disease

To address the primary issue of decreased parasympathetic tone followed by sympathetic nervous system activation, an adrenal hormone called ouabain, or strophanthin, could be used. Strophanthus is the name of the plant, the active ingredient of which is called g-strophanthin in Europe, and ouabain in the United States.

G-strophanthin is an endogenous (meaning “made in us”) hormone that goes into your blood, to your heart, where it converts the lactic acid into pyruvate, which is actually the preferred fuel for your heart. In this way, g-strophanthin breaks and eliminates the buildup of lactic acid that is causing all the trouble. Not only that, it converts it to a fully usable fuel, allowing your heart to function properly again.

G-strophanthin also helps create more neurotransmitters of the parasympathetic nervous system. So it performs two central functions: 1) It supports your parasympathetic nervous system, and 2), It flushes out lactic acid. Unfortunately, strophanthus can be hard to find. You cannot simply pick it up at your local health food store.

“Strophanthus was first identified by the famous African explorer, Livingston, who apparently saw the natives dip their arrows in it. They would make a really high dose and it would stun their prey … He dipped his toothbrush in a strophanthus extract and noticed the change in his heart rate. It slowed down. Basically, from there, it became a heart medicine. 

It’s in the same family as digitalis, but digitalis doesn’t convert lactic acid into pyruvate. Digitalis does not support the parasympathetic system. It’s really different because digitalis is fat soluble, while ouabain, g-strophanthine is water soluble. There are a lot of differences.”

 

How to Find Strophanthus

For over 20 years, strophanthus was the main treatment for angina and heart attack prevention in Germany. Millions of doses were given and hundreds of studies were done. One 1972 study involved 150 patients with angina. After taking strophanthus for one week, 144 were symptom free. After two weeks, 146 were without symptoms. It clearly has a long history of successful clinical use.

“In fact, in the ’50s and ’60s, there was a test called a strophanthin challenge test … All physicians know, sometimes a person comes in with chest pain. We don’t know if it’s because they’re breathing too hard or if it’s muscle pain or something. 

You want to figure out whether that’s from their heart. They [would] give them g-strophanthin. If the pain went away, it was considered from their heart. That was the g-strophanthin challenge test, because simply, it flushes the lactic acid. No lactic acid, no pain. But it’s not just for pain relief. It actually breaks the cycle that leads to heart attacks,” Cowan says.

“Now, there are very few places to get it. There’s one compounding pharmacy in Germany, which you can import [from]. There’s a company in Brazil that makes an extract of the strophanthus seeds. That’s what I’ve been using mostly for about 10, 15 years. I’ve had it tested so I know how much ouabain per milliliter is in there. 

It’s been one of the best medicines I’ve ever used. People [who] can’t walk to the mailbox, they take it for a couple of weeks, they can walk to the mailbox, go skiing, etc. It relieves their chest pain and it does the exact things that you would hope a medicine would do.”

To make strophanthus more available, Cowan suggests finding a practitioner who is willing to give it to you and supervise your medical condition. Then contact Cowan’s office via HumanHeartCosmicHeart.comCowan will talk to the practitioner and explain how strophanthus works and how it should be taken. The practitioner can then obtain it through the website and give it to you.

Enhanced External Counterpulsation — Another Alternative Treatment for Heart Disease

Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) is an alternative for bypass, provided you’re not dealing with a proximal left anterior descending (LAD) obstruction. EECP will increase collateral circulation, which is another common factor responsible for heart attacks.

EECP.com will tell you if or where there is a site that does this in your area. It’s a Medicare insurance-approved therapy, believe it or not. There are studies that show just EECP alone will relieve about 80 percent of angina. It definitely has some conventional literature behind its effectiveness. It’s very simple and straightforward,” Cowan says.

As explained earlier, the reason you don’t experience a heart attack due to blockage is because you’re protected by collateral circulation. However, if you have diabetes or chronic inflammation, that will eventually deteriorate your small blood vessels (capillaries), reducing this built-in protection.

EECP works by inflating compression cuffs on your thighs and calves that are synchronized with your EKG. When your heart is in diastole (relaxed), the balloons inflate, squeezing the blood. This is a very powerful and safe alternative to coronary bypass surgery for most. Rather than bypassing one or two large arteries you create thousands of new capillary beds that supply even more blood than bypassed vessels.

The sessions are about one hour long, and one requires about 35 sessions to receive benefit. It has insurance approval for angina, and even if you had to pay the $5,000 dollars out of pocket, it is certainly far safer than having your chest cracked open.

It is also very effective for many other conditions like heart failure and diastolic dysfunction (which is an emerging cardiac epidemic). Many professional and elite athletes use it as an aid to maintain cardiac fitness when they are injured and unable to actively exercise.

EECP Triggers Growth of New Blood Vessels

By doing that for an hour, five days a week for seven weeks (a total of 35 treatments), your body will form new blood vessels, thereby improving your collateral circulation. It’s as simple as that. Your body will literally sprout new blood vessels in response to the increased pressure. In addition to eliminating angina, the new flow may also increase your physical endurance and sexual function by 20 and 40 percent. The effects typically last five to eight years.

“Some people call this “passive exercise,” because [that’s] the only other thing I know of that actually really encourages the sprouting of new blood vessels. [H]igh intensity strength training … encourages new blood vessel formation. If you’re going to make muscle, you have to make more small blood vessels to nourish the flow.

That’s what happens. Anytime you’re doing high intensity strength training or running up hills or whatever it is you’re doing, that also does it. It makes more collateral circulation,” Cowan explains.

“The problem is a lot of people who come with heart disease, you can’t tell them to do high intensity training or hardly any exercise. The only thing they can do is just lay on the bed and do this passive exercise. Then they have much more capacity. Then they can get into more of a strength training or some sort of exercise program, and have a much greater capacity.”

 

More Information

Hopefully this interview has intrigued, encouraged and inspired you to pursue and investigate this topic in more detail, because the potential to transform your life and the lives of those you love is certainly available. Cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes are enormously common, and they simply do not need to be.

To learn more, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Cowan’s book, “Human Heart, Cosmic Heart: A Doctor’s Quest to Understand, Treat, and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease.” You can also find more information on HumanHeartCosmicHeart.com. I also published an article written by Cowan in 2014, in which he provides his perspective on the real cause of heart attacks, which you can read through.

“Hopefully, we’ll have some sort of newsletter and be able to really develop a community of people who are interested in looking at a whole different way of understanding and approaching heart disease,” Cowan says.

SHOW NOTES

Chelsea Green publisher of Human Heart, Cosmic Heart

Dr Cowan’s Website

BD Now! Podcast 029 Sarah Flack, Author of “The Art and Science of Grazing”

sarahflackbanner

Flack Sarah is the author of the Chelsea Green book Organic Dairy Production and, more recently, The Art and Science of Grazing: How Grass Farmers Can Create Sustainable Systems for Healthy Animals and Farm Ecosystems. She is a nationally known consultant on grazing and organic livestock management.

She is uniquely qualified as a teacher in the grazing movement in that she has both scientific training and hands on experience with livestock not only on her family’s farm but, because of her long time work as a certifier and consultant, on many grazing enterprises, small and large. She grew up on a Vermont family farm that used management-intensive grazing and mob stocking. She later studied Holistic Planned Grazing and pursued graduate studies on pasture management at the University of Vermont. She has written extensively about grass farming and is known for teaching workshops that take a practical approach to applying the science of grazing. Sarah has successfully helped many farmers create positive change in their pastures, soils, livestock, finances, and farm-family quality of life. Continue reading

BD Now! Episode 028 Scott Pittman of The Permaculture Institute USA “Bill Mollison Remembered”

Scott Pittman and Sasha

Scott Pittman and Sasha “Looking Far,” (from The Permaculture Institute website)

Scott Pittman taught Permaculture courses around the world for six years with Bill Mollison, the founder of Permaculture. Scott is the director of Permaculture Institute USA in Santa Fe, which he co-founded with Bill Mollison. Continue reading