Peace on Earth

During the holidays a common theme is ‘Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Man’. Traditionally, holiday charity included feeding the poor. As opposed to simply good will, historically speaking, this was a survival tactic of the wealthy. There’s an economic formula that determines what percent of the population has to be starving before revolution results. But what’s now skewing those figures and confusing the issue is the growing percent the US population that’s literally starving but doesn’t know it.

Mass shootings are now an all too frequent occurrence across the nation. Why are Americans so angry? What makes us more hostile than other industrialized nations? A major component is the lack of nutrients essential to keep people calm, happy and mentally stable. This, combined with huge amounts of sugar and chemicals in non-organic foods containing hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides and preservatives significantly increases toxicity and therefore agitation.

Malnutrition is rampant in our country. As opposed to skeletal thin figures its modern manifestation ranges from skinny to obese physiques. There’s as much malnutrition in the US as in most third world countries, not because there’s no food available but because what’s consumed has little or no nutritional value.

Low-income people can’t afford foods containing appropriate nutrients: organic vegetables, fruits and protein. Economically challenged people must choose between a few days of clean protein and vegetables then going hungry the rest of the month, or living on foods like ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese which allow them to eat for all thirty days. Fast and prepared foods, nutritionally void, and laced with sugar and chemicals are cheap.

To compound the problem, there’s a huge part of our population who can afford real food but instead rely upon convenience; that is fast and prepared foods. There’s smart, educated, and financially stable people who don’t eat all day, then for dinner consume cheese and crackers with a glass of wine. Or maybe they’ll snack during the day instead of eating three healthy meals, or just eat a protein bar or smoothie in the morning (which is NOT real food). A salad with one or two vegetables for lunch or dinner with just one vegetable doesn’t cut it either. All of these people are starving at various rates.

So what happens when humans starve? The flight or fight syndrome kicks in. The adrenaline gets pumping. This physiological response triggers the ability to fight for the food needed to survive. If nutritional deprivation is severe enough people become increasingly angry, depressed, anxious, overwhelmed and stressed out. But the source of agitation doesn’t register with modern men and women. Unable to ascertain the cause, but needing an outlet, the flight or fight response manifests in various forms of behavior. Road rage, verbal abuse, physical confrontation, and bullying have become increasingly more common as our diets have become more nutritionally depleted.

Anger, in its various forms, is stress and agitation projected outwards, towards others. Depression is stress and agitation directed inward, towards oneself. Depressed people have an ongoing internalized monologue of verbal self-abuse.

Lack of nutrients can also cause explosive anger. Triggered by anything, or seemly nothing, a person ‘sees red’. Nothing can be said or done to quench the rage until it’s verbally or physically expelled. This physiological response to lack of nutrients can cause the most extreme cases of violence.

When addressed nutritionally, and with some nutritional supplements, this explosive anger, often diagnosed as a personality disorder, can be eradicated in as little as a week. Though the side effects of prescription drugs, or hormones in animal products may also be at play here.

I’ve yet to see a patient suffering from extreme stress, anxiety, depression, or suicidal tendencies where nutritional starvation isn’t an issue. Once in this state of imbalance it becomes increasingly difficult to take adequate care of oneself, since shopping for food, cooking, or even eating regularly can be overwhelming. This compounds the symptoms.

Another side effect of nutritional starvation can be insomnia. The wild fluctuations of blood sugar can wake people up or prevent them from sleeping. Panic attacks can be another side effect. The body panics because it’s nutritional reserves are depleted with no end of famine in sight. It follows that sleep deprivation adversely effects mood and can exacerbate anger, panic attacks, stress, anxiety, depression, and irrational thought. Unfortunately the side effects of many prescribed anti-anxiety and anti-depressants can be addiction, suicide or mania. 

For extreme situations, appropriately prescribed anti-anxiety and anti-depressant drugs may be necessary. But used together, or before the prescription drugs become essential, properly prescribed herbal formulas, nutritional supplements, and acupuncture, can be effective in restoring emotional balance. However, neither drugs nor herbs will have the desired long-term effects if the nutritional component is ignored.

An ironic aspect of all this is: the money we pay in taxes is what’s making the nutritionally void junk foods, prepared foods and fast foods increasingly inexpensive and therefore more readily available. The billions in subsidies the government pays each year to corporations to produce meat and dairy, (using hormones and antibiotics), rice, soy, wheat and corn to make non-food, is not only destroying our nation’s health but is making us more violent and aggressive. Our tax dollars at work!

Schools, prisons and hospitals functioning on a limited budget are hard pressed to provide real food. Studies in prisons show that nutritionally rich food dramatically reduces inmate violence. Studies in schools show that providing nutritious lunches for students can significantly increase test scores with the most predominant results in math and science. Nutritionally deprived people can’t concentrate as needed. Foggy thinking and short-term memory problems are common side effects of malnutrition, something every student should be aware of.

Also adversely effecting emotional stability in the US, are the female hormones fed to cows to produce more milk, chickens to produce more eggs, and other animals to fatten them quickly so they can be brought to market sooner. Any doubts about how fluctuating hormones adversely affects mood? Just ask any woman with a history of difficult PMS or menopause.

Scientists are now calling the gut the second brain because there are almost as many neurotransmitters in our guts as in the brain. Studies are showing that the positive bacteria in our small intestines have a huge impact on our mental acuity and mood. When we consume non-organic animal products the huge amount of antibiotics necessary to keep these animals and poultry alive, in their crowded filthy conditions, destroy our gut flora and negatively impact our mood.

Other countries refuse to import our animal products because they consider them toxic, for good reason.

The French and Russian Revolutions were historical stereotypes. A major segment of the population was starving and they attacked and over-threw the minority who controlled the limited food supply. Today, in the US, we’ve easily surpassed that magic number, the percent of the population in crisis for lack of real food. But because the source of agitation is generally unknown, and the responsible parties obscure, instead of attacking those culpable, we’re directing the aggression against each other.     

Violence in our society is growing at an alarming rate. One way to address the issue is to tackle a root cause. Malnutrition! What the government (your tax dollars), should be supporting is real food: organic protein, vegetables and fruits. What our government (our tax dollars), should be promoting is nutritional education. What our government (our tax dollars) should be facilitating is the physical and therefore mental health of its people, as opposed to lining the pockets of the corporations that are making us a reactive, ignorant and violent nation. 

To end this reign of violence and restore emotional and mental stability we have to feed the starving masses. Only with this foundational support can we hope to achieve Peace on Earth, Goodwill Towards Men.

Health, Happiness and All the Best for the New Year,

Nancy Burton, L.Ac. (Licensed Acupuncturist)

For Appointments Call: 541-646-0134