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mercredi 18 juillet 2018


Any lover of Mexico and its grand culture would know the above quote attributed to Gen. Porfirio Diaz. 
First they took the land away, Texas and California among them. 
Like the Tohono O’odham elder said:
One day we were Mexican and the next we were Americans.
It was not their land to give away or take.
My close friend among the Mexican Kickapoo, Mena, said to me: When we were in Nacimiento, we were not Mexicans but we were Kickapoo, and now that we live in Eagle Pass, Texas, we are not Americans but still Kickapoo..
I have long admired Mexico and Mexicans; when I was a Medical Student I used to spend weekends in Merida, Yucatan where I learned the topography of the country, the sadness of the defeated Mayans, and the exuberance of the newcomers who sold Kibbeh in their eateries and the ever-present dance and song and music of Saturday evenings.
One thing I did notice on my repeated visits, the last one being on the 24th June 2006, when a sudden telephone call summoned me to Paris, which was to enslave me for the next six years, the bodies of the Mexicans were changing. Cafes and places where somnolent Yucatecans nursing their beers wept over their lugubrious music were ubiquitous, then the American Style establishments began, McDonalds replacing the corner taquerias.. Sad music giving away to the thud of the tex-mex music that promoted Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola.
(for the sake of the Tzotzil Indians of San Juan de Chamula, avoid any of the above chemical substances)
Soon the corpulent Mexicans were consuming more Coca Cola and Fizzy drinks than anyone else on earth, becoming bigger and soon , like the ghosts returning on the Dia de los muertos, Diabetes, Heart Disease began stalking the once jolly Mexican population.

I sat in the corner cafe, looking at the crooked tower of the cathedral, on to the Zocalo where multiple love seats entertained young Mayan women in huipiles, sadly reminding myself of the poem by Pablo Neruda...

Yes Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola divided the world, like they did at the Treaty of Tordesillas..
Treaty of Tordesillas. Treaty of Tordesillas, (June 7, 1494), agreement between Spain and Portugal aimed at settling conflicts over lands newly discovered or explored by Christopher Columbus and other late 15th-century voyagers.

There in the depths of the state of Chiapas, not far from the square of San Cristobal de las casas where once I stood mesmerized listening to the piped music in the square, it was Cesaria Evora and my younger brother was with me, there is the village of San Juan de Chamula
Now blessed with the Coca Cola church where drunken “chamans” offer you a cleansing ceremony for a few pesos, the obesity rate and the death rate from Diabetes ranks one of the highest in the world. The poor Tzotzil Indian enlarging like a balloon drinking this vile substance which is cheaper than water, not available every day because of the decreasing water supply, have made them fat and fatter and the God of Coca Cola and its parent company FEMSA which gave us Vicente Fox, its ex-CEO as President of the Republic of Mexico.
(photo of the "coca cola" church of San Juan de Chamula, pre coke days and post coca cola days)
Oh Poor Mexico, so close to the United States and so far away from God!
But you have become closer to one of the Gods of the USA, Coca Cola and you drink more of it than any one else on earth which poisons your Indian veins and leads you to limp on your amputated feet.
From New York Times

I see that FEMSA has expanded into Colombia and no wonder they hunt down the innocent Indians of the Amazon, to offer as sacrifice to their Celestial Obese Master of the Yuma!

Oh Pobre Mexico…

mardi 17 juillet 2018


In the course of my professional life as an Endocrinologist, I have watched with interest the various fads in Nutrition, the principal winner being the Food Companies and the looser is always the one who is unable to loose weight!
The emphasis has always been on Fat or Carbohydrate or Protein or Calories, but not what constitutes these macronutrients.  Calorie centrism put emphasis on the number of calories rather than how those calories were manufactured: Nature vs. Factory?
Chemicals, emulsifiers to prolong shelf time and environmental toxins are in full supply in the food we eat on a regular basis.  When Prof. Yudkin from UK claimed that Plastics could cause Diabetes, people ridiculed him but we know that there are now an array of plastics including BPA, Phthalates…that can cause Insulin Resistance, Obesity and Diabetes.
Emulsifiers, additives commonly found in food, may cause obesity and metabolic syndrome, according to new research.

Emulsifiers are added to food to increase its shelf life and make it taste better. But they also change gut bacteria. 

Moreover, emulsifiers are linked to metabolic syndrome, which can, in turn, lead to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
The researchers fed mice polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose, two common emulsifiers. The emulsifiers changed the behaviour of the gut, increasing rates of inflammation and metabolic syndrome. The effects resembled those of increased food intake, obesity, hyperglycemia, and insulin resistance.

Many years ago strolling around downtown Johor Bahru, I came across a Book Sale conducted in the premises of the Hindu Temple. That was my first introduction to Consumers Association of Penang CAP. I was to meet the founder and President Mr., Idris Mohammed, an impressive man!
Long before the people in the west were concerned about BPA and Phthalates and the Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, the CAP were printing books and distributing them. They served as a guide to my work with the Native Indians.

From that day onwards I have talked endlessly about Chemicals in our food and the damage it is causing. Exercise can take away some of the excess calories you consume, but no amount of exercise can dissipate the chemical intake! From childhood onwards Americans consume on the average 7.5 lbs. of chemicals every 5 years, so if you are 45 years of age, you have consumed about 60 pounds of chemicals!
There is no association such as CAP in the USA that I know of, I know that Consumer International is active, but the discourse of the Nutritionists is still blogged down in Carbohydrate Fat Protein level and not on the large amount of Chemicals entering our bodies legitimately as food and also as degraded products of Pesticides, as well as the hormones and antibiotics given to animals bred for consumption.
So I was not at all surprised to see this headline among the multiple medically oriented emails that I receive daily.
South Asian Immigrants Exposed to Pesticides Have Increased Risk of Diabetes

South Asians in India/Pakistan/Nepal/Bangladesh/Sri Lanka have a higher incidence and prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes that occur at an earlier age, at a lower BMI and also when they migrate, so much so that an Immigrant from South Asia can expect to have higher chance of Type 2 Diabetes as well as Cardiovascular mortality and morbidity.  It cannot be just the race, as Bangladeshis who are genetically similar to the Hindus of Bengal have twice the rate of cardiovascular mortality on migration.  The explanations have to be social and anthropological.

I had written another blog in 2012
Titled the Prophet of Penang. He truly is.
Here is that blog and there is a photo of me with him in his office.



My sister telephoned to invite me to a Chinese Restaurant in a strip mall near her home in Miami. I enjoy spending time with her and her husband, and by the time I had gotten to the restaurant they had already ordered the dishes.
There was a dish of Chicken, which tasted very bland and the meat itself tasted plump as if it had been pumped with something.

It does not take much investigation to realize that the plump chicken breast (white meat is much more popular in the USA than dark meat) is a recent addition to the American cuisine (see the following image of the size of normal chicken a few decades ago in USA) is due to the injection of antibiotics (63000 tonnes of antibiotics used in animals in the USA per year. It is estimated that 18 million pounds of antibiotics go into the environment from animal farming.
I looked at the unappetizing Chinese chicken dish. Like Mexican Restaurants differ dramatically from its parents in Mexico, I know that Chinese food here is more American than Chinese.
I kept on thinking about it long after the encounter at the Chinese Restaurant (hopefully my last one in Miami, fortunately I get to eat good Chinese food from various provinces in KL). Each chicken discharges about 11 pounds manure, with its antibiotics and high amounts of Phosphorus.
I am a physician interested in Obesity, Diabetes and Kidney Disease.
And I realized that the Chinese plump chicken with the bland taste was pointing me to one of the causes of obesity in USA… changes in the Microbiome of humans from the antibiotics, added phosphorus from the chicken meat as well as the high phosphorus content that damages the kidneys.

In the USA there is so much food contamination that one has to protect oneself by trying to get organic produce and meat which has no antibiotics or hormones in them, organically raised chicken which are pasture based. Just to show the cageyness (pun intended) of the Food Industry, cage chicken has 67 square inches to live, where as free range may not see outside but has 1 square foot of space to live. Free range implies a healthier bird but that may not be the case. Pasture raised implies birds and animals allowed to roam around at will and eat a diet much closer to their natural diet.
My sister’s husband a few years ago was overweight, had all the chronic diseases of the civilization diagnosed when he made the decision not to eat meat as well as cut down on bread. Being of Middle Eastern ancestry, he eats his ancestral food where the meat is Lamb rather than cattle or chicken.
Yesterday he showed me the results of his last laboratory examinations and I was so impressed how well the result were. This made me realize that when someone decides to eat well or go on a diet, QUALITY of the food is what one must pay attention to. Cutting down portion size is a well known to induce weight loss but the Quality of what you eat determines your physical and in  many cases the emotional state.
Sitting at the Flagship Lounge of the American Airlines at Miami International Airport, with a flute of the champers, I decided to do an experiment. For the next one month, despite a hectic travel schedule, I will not eat any MEAT, but continue with my love of Salmon and seafood. As it is I don’t eat much bread, but I can eliminate that also to a great extent, but not while in France where the Quality of bread is excellent. In Cochin seafood is easy to obtain in addition to excellent vegetarian dishes. In Israel, the food would be my ancestral food with culinary modifications, might taste the Lamb of course.
I would like to see the difference in my body and mind, during the period of observance, this slight discipline in nutrition, the inconvenience of travel notwithstanding. Fortunately I have two long haul flights with Qatar Airways and it wouldn’t be a problem to stick to my nutritional choices.
I am not looking for weight loss but will keep in mind how I feel and also whether there is an effect upon my thinking?

As a starter, at the Flagship Lounge, I chose
Quinoa Salad with Goat Cheese
Israeli Couscous
Haricots verts
Lentils and Peas
Summer Squash
A couple of dabs of very tasty Ceviche
A small almond filled pain au chocolat
Yet another flute of the Champagne
L’Chaim To Life L’chaim