Saturday, May 15, 2010

Food allergies,

Food allergies and sensitivities are a terrible health condition to deal with. If a person has an allergy to a specific food they can become deathly ill if they are exposed to it, accidentally or not the results are traumatic. Hundreds of thousands of young parents choose to raise their children on diets free of some of the most common allergy foods, peanuts, red meat, gluten and dairy products. Instead of finding out naturally if the children are sensitive or allergic they choose to simply avoid the possibility entirely. I wasn't raised that way. I think I was exposed to almost everything, including but not limited to dirt and a not so tasty bug or two. Limiting certain life experiences seems to be an ever increasing trend.

Listening to a program concerning health issues related to food allergies and sensitivities the other day I heard another side of the story. It seems a majority of those in the health care and research concerning these allergies have found that the upsurge in allergies is a result of growing up in such a sterile lifestyle. In other words: by not being exposed to a variety of food throughout our lives we put ourselves in jeopardy of not being able to tolerate those very foods. After thinking about that premise it sounded like simple common sense.

Many medicines and vaccines are made with small amounts of the offending germ or flu bug. We accept a tiny bit into our systems and our natural defences develop into a tolerance of sorts and we don't get sick from it. It's easy to transfer that same theory to our ability to process food.

According to much of this research, our desire to protect our kids and keep them safe from everything appears to be the cause of many of our most serious problems. They say we are protecting our kids into ill health, we are raising them to be weak and delicate instead of able to deal with life as it comes so they have to be protected all their lives. What an eye opener.

I've seen movies that portray the human experience as a form of evolution ending in a mindless, weak, sickly society that requires a caretaker for even the smallest need. I wonder how true those science fiction movies will become?..........I kinda like the dirt thing. I had a lot of fun doing it and my mom got some pretty funny pictures too.............................Joe

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The old, mean guy

I happened across a guy from my old neighborhood the other day. As I looked over a shelf of sale items, deeply engrossed in the art of saving money, a hand touched my shoulder and a deep, mature voice said, "Hello Joey." Even without looking recognition was triggered by his distinctive rich, baritone, almost musical speech. The other was that only a chosen few in my life have been allowed to call me Joey. I turned and looked and sure enough, it was the mean old guy from down the street as I was growing up. He must be in his nineties by now because he was old back then. He was also considered by most neighborhood kids to be as mean as a junk yard dog. For some reason he and I got along OK while other kids thought some day he would kill me and feed me to his chickens.

His ramshackle house was located on the back edge of a gravel road alongside the railroad tracks. His wife planted flowers in the front yard around a stand up bath tub half buried in the ground with a religious statue sitting inside. The rest of the yard, except for a walkway and a fenced area with a chicken coop, was filled with vegetables, two apple trees, a plum tree and a small patch of blackberry bushes, with piles of smelly manure surrounding the roots. The mean old guy worked two full time jobs but still kept the garden growing and spent several hours a week working on repairing and improving some part of the house. He didn't speak to hardly anyone. They had three children, two sons and a daughter. The children were usually inside the house or gone, I can't remember a time when they played outside with the rest of us neighborhood kids. The rumor was that they were being kept prisoners and the mean old guy beat them and his wife every day. They didn't have a TV antenna anywhere on the house. The whole family was weird, they said. I thought they were OK. I met him and his family and talked with them once in a while because I peddled papers to them and also sold the mean old guy his garden seeds from my catalog. I helped him pick them out because he couldn't read. To be continued.

It's supposed to rain pretty good today. Should help my garden grow what I've already planted and help prepare for more planting too..........................Joe

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The hermit, the cave, the smell

During my hike around Lake Michigan I met a lot of interesting people, one of which was a sort of hermit I guess you'd call him. Sometimes I wonder if he may still be living in his cave. Yes, when I came across him many years ago he had definitely set up housekeeping in a small cave overlooking a creek that flowed into Lake Michigan just a little south of the Mackinaw bridge. I ran across him while walking up the creek looking for something to eat. He had built a doorway from wooden sticks, clay and straw blocks and what appeared to be rabbit skins as a roof. Quite ingenious really, I thought. I declined his invitation to stay and visit for a few days for two reasons: number one is I had made my policy to not sleep in any structure and secondly, his cave stunk. I mean it wreaked of just what I don't know. But I can tell you that just standing in the doorway my eyes and nose hurt from the stench. At the time my goal was to complete my walk around the lake. not to visit with everyone I bumped into, no matter how interesting they were. Today is a different story. I am really curious as to why he lived in a cave, how long did he live there, why did he choose that area, what did he do to support himself, and most of all, how could he stand the odor? I can still remember and sense that awful, pungent, almost suffocating odor.

Walking through a store last week I stopped to look over a new tool displayed on a center aisle table. I like new tools. Picking up the tool, I turned it around in my hands to see how it worked and what useful functions it may have. While I was engrossed in this new multi tasking tool, imagining myself building lots of new stuff in my basement, my nose started to twitch and itch. My eyes began to tear up and sting. My mind flashed back to long ago when I first poked my head into that cave. It startled me and I looked around to find the source of that familiar yet terribly offensive smell. there were several people milling around and walking away from the tool display. I didn't see anyone that looked particularly dirty or hermit like. I also didn't notice anyone else searching for a source of any odor. No one smelling each other. In a minute or two the odor dissipated as far as I could tell. Apparently I was the only one that noticed it but then again maybe no one else wanted to acknowledge it either. After all, it was strong enough to maybe be considered as some type of biological terrorism in today's society.

It did make me wonder if that guy still lived in his cave up north, or has he moved into a store somewhere in Central Michigan that is open 24 hours?
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