29 August 2008

zimdog's words of wisdom: birthdays

Two weeks ago, trying my best to conjure some clever wording for inscription in the birthday card of a planetarium boss, I decided the following:

"Birthdays are like stars: the more you see, the grander life is."

Maybe I can sell it to Hallmark.

27 August 2008

ACV: A Political Matter?

For a few months now, I've been doing daily treatments of apple cider vinegar. Anyone who knows my mom knows she keeps all sorts of interesting reading material in the most reader-supportive room in the house, the b-a-t-h room (for those faint of sensibility). One b-room book was a supermarket checkout-sized booklet on apple cider vinegar. Apparently, there's always (or for hundreds of years has) been an awareness of apple cider vinegar as a helpful daily treatment. I've only been privy for a few months, but it seems to do me some good. I've also noticed that I feel the effects of the tonic more when I use the extra-natural stuff: raw, unfiltered, organic, and unpasteurized. As the booklet also suggests, I mix ACV with honey, but molasses or fruit juice are apparently just as acceptable. These add-ins do not alter or enhance the effects of ACV. They're there for their vitamins and minerals, and also to mask the "unaccustomable" flavor of ACV. And yes, I made that word up.

Taking apple cider vinegar daily (with or without the add-ins) is "rumored" to have various positive health effects. Here's a pretty standard list as found on a HomeRemediesWeb.com page. (The first section of the page describes ACV; the second section lists its "known" benefits.) Even WebMD admits to similar benefits, although the WebMD page immediately follows these claims up by saying: "While the results of these studies are promising, they are all preliminary. Many were done on animals or on cells in a lab. The human studies have been small. Before we will truly know whether vinegar has any health benefits, much larger studies are needed." Bogus or not, there exists a massive population of people who think apple cider vinegar is a miracle treatment. The booklet I looked at listed many, many everyday uses for ACV, both health and cosmetic. I started taking it as a daily tonic because I understood it would help the arthritis developing in my knees. But then WebMD tells me ACV can "cause low potassium levels and lower bone density" (same link as above). Another site tells me ACV contains a whole lot of potassium. Who do I believe? And of course, nevermind that folk medicine has been treating with vinegars for hundreds of years, because all that came before the scientific revolution, which has rendered instinct and unscientific observation all but useless.

I read one account of a doctor selling a product called "Jogging in a Jug," which was a simple mixture of ACV and various fruit juices. The FDA fined him because the label of the product made unproven claims about the health benefits of apple cider vinegar. Could this be one more example of government hypocrisy? The FDA hasn't taken much time to study the effects of apple cider vinegar, but they are quite skilled at reminding people of government authority. Nevermind that they don't have any answers for why they can say no. If the FDA is ignorant on matters of ACV, perhaps it could use its authority to... oh I don't know, STUDY APPLE CIDER VINEGAR. Given my cynical perspective on government corruption and the myriad inefficiencies of bureaucracy, my guess is that apple cider vinegar hasn't been studied because, as a homeopathic remedy, it is cheap and readily available to those that might benefit from it. Often times, lobbyists don't much care for these "communist" substances.

I say, whatever. I'm drinking the shit. Until the FDA and our nation's medical practitioners can prove otherwise (or until ACV meets federal prohibition), I'm going to trust what my body tells me, and so far my body tells me it wants me to keep up what I'm doing. My knees feel better than they have in a long while, and combined with the honey, I feel more energy from an ACV drink than I do from coffee. And it's that wholesome energy, not the nervous kind that makes me feel plugged into the wall.

I'm by no means saying everyone should try this treatment, but have a look around on the Internet and decide for yourselves who's telling the truth about apple cider vinegar. Who knows? Maybe this blog entry makes me one of the "crazies" trying to pollute the population with another one of Nature's toxins. Or maybe I'm just trying to rid my own body of the man-made toxins I encounter on a daily basis. Apple cider vinegar is supposedly good for that too, but you'll never know for sure... at least, not if the FDA and friends have anything to say about it.