Friday, April 8, 2016

Enigma

Enigma: A person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.  Use in a sentence: The differences between what is and what is not illegal to consume or even possess in America is an enigma.

I sit and watch the first half hour or so of all the news programs Hubs watches during the morning hours, and in this way, Hubs and I have our coffee together.  Today, I saw where hospitals are in financial trouble and as an easy fix for the situation, they have added yet another tax on tobacco products.  Let me assure you, I am not a user of tobacco products, but I live with a man who has been hopelessly addicted to cigarettes and who now uses an E-Cigarette in an effort to taper off nicotine and then be free.  But it isn't going as well as I had hoped. 

To make tobacco users bear the burden of shoring up financially at-risk services sounds reasonable at first blush.  After all, the use of tobacco starts with a conscious decision, and the damage that the tobacco user inflicts on him-or-herself as a result is brought on by their own actions.  So, why shouldn't they pay more to feed their habit?  Here's why.  They got lured into the habit when they were kids.  They saw tobacco being used by the "cool" people on movies and advertisements.  Being young, they yearned to look older, more sophisticated.  And they liked the attention they got.  By the time they figured out they'd been manipulated and used, it was too late.  They were addicted.  Ask ANY smoker and they will tell you they don't WANT to smoke.  They NEED to.  There is a huge difference. 

Watch while they smoke, and you will see that their addiction is two-fold.  It's not just the rush of nicotine coursing through their lungs and into their brain.  It's the motions they go through.  Before the process begins, there's the laying out of the paraphernalia.  They search their pockets for the pack of cigarettes and knock one loose out of the packet.  They hold that cigarette in their mouth while they search for their lighter and light up.  That first drag they make on that cigarette is like, "Ahhhhhhhhhhh.....", usually done in silence.  And then the search begins for the ashtray or something that will serve as one.  Each subsequent dragging from the cigarette is held in the mouth till it comes out the nose.  There are sounds that are made when a puff of smoke is released.  Every smoker knows how to make smoke rings out of their mouth and some even say they can make smoke come out of their ears.  There's the holding of the cigarette, the flicking of the ashes, and at the end, the snuffing out of the butt that signals the return to whatever activity they were involved in before they lit up.  Make no mistake, what you have just watched is addiction in action.

The family of the smoker are the victims just as sure as the smoker is.  The smoker will do anything to feed the habit.  He or she will buy cigarettes no matter what the cost.  He or she will put up with medical conditions that are caused or exacerbated by their smoking habit.  Doctors will say to quit smoking, but they know that probably won't happen.  So they prescribe drugs to combat the conditions involved, and the cost of those prescriptions can be enough to change a middle-income family into a low-income family, or worse, and keep them there.  All members of the smoker's family have to do without something so that the smoker can smoke and be treated for conditions that he or she probably wouldn't even have if they didn't smoke.  All members of the smoker's family breathe second-hand smoke, even if the smoker doesn't smoke in the house or in the car.  Unfortunately, though, there are still many smokers who do smoke in their homes and cars.  Children growing up in this family are more likely to start smoking than those who grew up in a family without a smoker.  And so the cycle continues. 

The smoker grows less and less attractive as the years pass.  The facial skin becomes wrinkled sooner than normal.  The teeth are nicotine-stained yellow and there's bad breath.  Smoking affects the gums and so the smoker usually gets to the point where they have to have dentures.  Dentures and smoking combine into the worst breath I have ever smelled.  Not to mention that the smell of the cigarette smoke is on them, 24-7.  It's not fun to kiss a smoker.  Nothing kills romance faster than a smoker that wants to French-kiss.  UGH!!!!

All this, and tobacco products are perfectly legal.  In fact, without the money from the taxes that are levied on tobacco products, many health services would suffer.  So instead, the family of the smoker suffers.  In more ways than one.

Yet marijuana is illegal in most states, and even in the states where "medical marijuana" is legal, it is still illegal Federally.  So if it behooves a Federal Agent to arrest you for having marijuana on you or in your system, it won't matter that you're in a state where it is legal.  How's that for an enigma?  Marijuana is helpful, medically, to many, but it's basis for being illegal is that, while it, in itself. is not necessarily habit-forming, "studies have shown" (how often have we heard THAT?) that it leads to the harder stuff.  And that, my friends, is not a fact.  It's a guess.

The facts are that the same argument can be applied to tobacco and alcohol.  Oh.  But we restrict that, right?  You have to be "of age" to buy it, right?  So law enforcement spends an inordinate amount of time sending minors into stores to try to buy it that might be better spent in dealing with actual crime.  Since time is money, you get my drift, right?  Oh.  But we need the tax money that is earned with each sale, since we're taxing the wazoo out of both.  And also from the fines that are levied when a shop-owner is caught selling to a minor.

Make no mistake, the family of a person addicted to alcohol suffers all the same as the family of the person addicted to tobacco, and more.  The only way alcohol usage is illegal for adults is if there's a certain level of it in the body of the driver of a vehicle that caused an accident.  I am grateful that I've never had to live with an alcoholic.  But many do, and it's perfectly legal to be sloshed out of your mind at home.  That same person could be mellow all the time, peacefully tending a little marijuana garden in his or her back yard instead, but, oh, that's illegal.  So the person addicted to alcohol ruins all his or her relationships.  Some children that grow up with an alcoholic parent are disgusted by it, and therefore the parent, enough to never allow themselves to drink.  They carry vivid memories of seeing their parent passed out on the floor, or wetting their pants, or vomiting, or being abusive.  Other children seem to see a parent's addiction as "permission" to become one, also, as if it's some kind of legacy.  There goes that enigma again. 

It is a known fact that, when an alcoholic can't get alcohol, they are looking for something that has sugar in it.  Because, guess what?  Alcohol is fermented sugar.  And sugar is addictive.  And it's perfectly legal.  So legal in fact, that it is fed to children before they are old enough to ask for it.  Sugar or some form of it (anything on the ingredients list ending in -ose will make us grandiose and maybe comatose and, in my case, verbose).  Sugar(s) are added to almost every processed food product "to improve taste".  The reason why it "improves taste" is because, from the cradle, we have trained our babies to want it.  Watch THIS YouTube called The Secrets of Sugar by Science Channel National Geographic.

Some people have referred to people who are addicted to sugar as being "dry drunks".  I'm kind of offended by this.  Those who become alcoholics are actually addicted to sugar first.  So sugar is the "gateway" to alcohol, just as marijuana is said to be for the harder drugs. 

If you struggle with sugar cravings, you might be interested in this videotaped talk that was given in the office of Dr. Jeffry Gerber by nutritionist Jolene Park.  I think you'll find it interesting, so that's HERE.  She mentions something that sounds like "Black Flower Walnuts", and that turns out to be "Bach" and not "Black".  I'm not sure what I think of all the weird sounding things and supplements she recommends but I have further reading to do before I'm ready to say what I'll be willing to try and what I won't.  I might not mind adding some minerals to my diet but I'm looking for a common-sense approach without the necessity of exotic ingredients and I'm not very good about taking pills.  The questionnaire she refers to, "The Edge Effect: Which Nature Are You?" by Eric Braverman can be found HERE.   The link to the handout she refers to during her talk is in the top part of the comment section under the viewing screen.  I found the information in the handout very interesting, including the suggested consumption of cocoa in hot water with or without a little artificial sweetener, to combat cravings without bringing on yet another craving that is, in fact, stronger than the one before it.  There is also a link there to the UC Berkeley video, part of which she shows on her laptop during her talk.  A couple of things have hit me, and maybe they will you, too.  If you listen to those ads that are run by Jenny Craig and some of the other weight loss corporations, they talk about how they provide "Craving-Buster Protein Shakes" and I think there might be a parallel between that and the simple cocoa and hot water concoction.  Notice also the advice given about how portion control is not as important as controlling the quality of the foods that you eat.  We all have either known someone, or BEEN that someone who moved from their parents' home to the college dorm and soon found themselves carrying around additional pounds.  It's not that they ate more.  It's that they ate differently.  So reach for protein instead of the box of Pop Tarts.  If all else fails, go get a burger and tell them "no bread, no mayo, no pickle".  How's THAT for "Have it your way"??  Heh.  My favorite examples of handy protein are hard boiled eggs, unsalted peanuts or tree nuts, sunflower seeds, or canned tuna (packed in water).  All these are things you might have in your pantry or freezer.  You can prepare them yourself and not be chained to a specific weight loss industry.  Buy a blender.  Drop in an egg, 1/2 cup of dry milk powder, 1/2 cup of water or real, unsweetened apple or white grape juice, a tablespoon of coconut oil, a tablespoon of cocoa and maybe a little honey.  Whir it around.  Then start dropping ice into the blender through the hole in the lid while the blender is running, until the mixture is thickened.  This thickens like a milkshake and can be eaten with a spoon.  WARNING: I used to make one of these every day.  I used water because I didn't have juice, and Equal instead of honey to sweeten it.  My gut did NOT like all that Equal AT ALL, and the cramping and bloating made me pretty miserable.  I had no idea, I went to the doctor.  Tests were run.  Nothing was found.  Then I stopped using Equal, the pain went away and did not recur.  So as you make changes in your daily diet, be aware that you might make some bad choices now and then along the way without realizing it.  Artificial sweeteners that are in the form of a white powder or white granules, even if they are produced from "natural ingredients", are by then a far cry from "natural", and the body knows the difference. 

There was a mention in Jolene Parks' talk about EFT Tapping.  I had never heard anything about that but there are lots of YouTubes demonstrating it.  I'm not sure what I think about this.  I try to be open-minded but I'm just an Old Redneck Woman, you know....  You can go to YouTube.com and put EFT Tapping in the search box and come up with a lot of stuff to look at.  It gets mostly into emotional pain transferring to physical pain, and yeah, I know that happens, I've had my share.  I won't point my finger at it and laugh, because as far as I'm concerned, when you're hurting, whether physically or emotionally, anything is worth a try.  And if it helps, go for it, whatever it might be.  Frankly, I would march down the road to the mailbox in an Esther Williams bathing suit, waving a paper bag over my head and squawking like a chicken if I thought it might bring relief from some of the stuff I have had to deal with before. 

Dr. Josh Axe has a YouTube about how to stop sugar cravings HERE.  A lot of his information is what's already been mentioned previously.  But much of it bears repeating.  It has happened to me that, when I'm craving, if I will make myself a salad, garnish it with a hard-boiled egg, a little shredded cheese, some sunflower seeds and the juice of a lemon, I find myself no longer craving after I've eaten it.  In fact, not even hungry for the next meal.

Well, I got 'way off topic in my rant about how some things are illegal and some aren't, but it's just as well, because nobody is going to change the way things are done just because I've said it's not right.  And it's not.  Everybody knows that.  In fact, it's just ridiculous.  And everybody knows that, too.  Addiction is defined as "a persistent, compulsive dependence on a behavior or substance".  Once something is deemed to be addictive, it should all fall into the same class, and all be illegal or legal, whatever.  Let's see....  What else can we get addicted to.....  Television?  Shopping?  Gambling?  Watching ballgames?  Playing video games?  Sex?  Cell Phones?  Karaoke?  Going to Garage Sales? 

The mind boggles.  Rock on, anyway.  Hugs xoxoxo

5 comments:

  1. "Food" for thought! It IS odd that certain things are illegal but as long as the legal items are making so much in tax, that's not going to change any time soon, regardless of the subsequent health implications. I wonder if Jolene Park was referring to Bach Flower Remedies? My mother in law swears by them and I have used their Rescue Remedy (in drops or pastille format) on and off for a long time. I don't know how effective they are but sometimes you will try all sorts... I use Stevia to sweeten my tea as it tastes better than the laboratory stuff - maybe I should just give up sweetening tea. I used to use honey. When baking, I radically reduce the sugar content and I can't eat many commercially-produced desserts or cakes as they are just far too sweet. I can only eat very dark chocolate and find a small amount satisfies me. Off to research Stevia further! Thanks for a thought-provoking post :-D

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    1. Yes, Jo, that's what she's referring to, I'm sure. I haven't done a lot of research into it, but it sounds as if Bach Flower is a trade name for essential oils?? Would this be right? I get my EO's through Mountain Rose and I'm very pleased with their quality. My friend Paula gets hers through doTERRA and she likes those. I guess we all have our faves. I find Stevia, even that which I grow myself, to have a bitter aftertaste. Like you, I cut the amount of sugar in half when I bake. When I have enough fruit to can in the summer, I use radically less sugar, but I don't leave it out entirely as I find it needs some, but not nearly as much as we've been trained to believe. And, also like you, I don't eat baked goods or canned fruit from the grocery store, as it tastes 'way too sweet to me. A couple of weeks ago, Hubs brought home from fried chicken from a grocery store deli, and as part of the "meal deal", there was "Hawaiian rolls". I have made these rolls before and the recipe calls for pineapple juice. But I was positive they had just added extra sugar to their recipe instead of the juice and the rolls had such a predominate "sugar taste", I could not eat them.

      I really prefer some kind of sweet in my hot tea, but I can drink my coffee without. Coffee is my drink of choice in the mornings, but in the afternoon, after lunch, a nice cup of tea is very pleasant. We drink a lot of iced tea in this part of the US, and Hubs' family follows the southern tradition of "sweet tea". But my family always drank it without and to me, "sweet tea" is not good.

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    2. The Bach Flower Remedies don't contain oils - they work on homeopathic principles that I don't know a lot about but Mr Google will tell you! I like something sweet in my tea and I drink a lot of it (always hot, with milk, black tea makes me feel ill) but I love Italian coffee and drink it unsweetened. Adrian is also a coffee fiend and we both have espresso machines that are absolute life necessities. If we go away, the first thing we need to find is a source of good coffee! Starbucks doesn't count ;-)

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  2. I agree wholeheartedly about the marajuana thing. Maybe they should consider it the same as making homemade wine....as long as you don't exceed the limits for own use, you can do it.

    My problem with all the current websites with solutions for what ails us is most end up trying to sell you something. Even Mayo that I was going to for most research for my issues always has a newsletter or a book or something to sell.

    Think of all the things in recent years they have blamed health issues on......bet there will be more in years to come. We need take charge and use our common sense more than ever.

    It is all very interesting.

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  3. Glenda, we do need to take charge and be our own advocate, as so much of the time nobody's really there to help us that doesn't have an ulterior motive. It's just that sometimes we're not feeling well and not able to do it. THEN we're at their mercy!! I agree that everyone's trying to sell, sell, sell, it's a double-edged sword as they wouldn't be offering any help at all if they didn't have money motivation. For this reason, I always mentally filter what I read and watch with that in mind, and I don't recommend them to people if that's all they're about. Many times, though, some good ideas can spring from what's presented, and sometimes you can get enough clues about ingredients that you can figure out how you can make something that's similar. I don't necessarily mind spending money if I get my money's worth. The people that publish their videos on YouTube get paid a little something with every view, and I don't mind that as it doesn't come directly out of my pocket.

    Have you been to WebMD?

    You remember the old song, "Money makes the world go around", well, I guess that'll always be true. Otherwise, very few people would do anything nice for anyone.

    I probably wouldn't use marijuana even if growing it was legal, because it has a reputation for increasing the appetite. I sure don't need THAT!

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