Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Doctor of Oz

Pay no attention to that money behind the man! The Great and Powerful Oz has spoken...

In what I consider to be a monstrous betrayal of consumers, his fans, his own profession and the general truth of matters, Dr. Mehmet Oz recently authored his career's own obituary in the form of an article published in the December 3rd issue of Time magazine. The endearing title of the piece? "What to Eat Now: The Anti-Food-Snob Diet".

Charming, isn't it? And buried somewhere among full page ads for pharmaceutical drugs, mercury-laden contact lens solution and big gas-guzzling vehicles, as well as impressively dull photos of frozen vegetables and canned beans alongside detailed info-graphics glorifying all manner of cheap, low-quality, brand-name ultra-refined and sugar-laden processed foods, is just enough copy written by the good doctor to thoroughly destroy both the health of numberless millions who follow his advice, as well as any credibility he might have hoped to retain among a health-aware food movement whose members know better than to swallow baloney in any form... Yeck!

In the article, Oz calls health conscious eaters elitist and anti-American. "Organic food is great, it's just not very democratic...", he wrote, and "You don't need to eat like the 1% to eat healthily... Save the cash; the 99% diet can be good for you."

Really? Because farming and choosing fresh foods is so much less American than negligently consenting to be the unwitting, under-nourished, over-medicated biological experiment of big food and big pharma corporations who repeatedly demonstrate about as much interest in our health as they do in educating us about the lack of nutritional content in processed and genetically modified foods? Please...

Since when is making intelligent, informed choices against the spirit of the Republic? I'll tell you... Since it ceased to be a Republic and became instead a dangerously unchecked corporate lobby whose political leaders are more for decoration than they are delegates. Since those power-drunk, money-grubbing bedfellows began wielding gargantuan profits to peddle their own baloney as though it were a prime cut of filet mignon. And guess who's biting -- those who perhaps need the most help, the people who spend more money on medications, operations and health insurance than they do on food. And, no doubt, many of them trust Dr. Oz implicitly, possibly even to the point of feeling relieved for their pocketbooks now that he's given the go-ahead to consume any amount of cheaper conventional foods (containing harmful pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified organisms) -- foods he now claims are substantially equivalent to those that are organic.

"Nutritionally, there is not much difference between, say, grass-fed beef and the feedlot variety," the mighty Oz spaketh.

Wow. What did he get his doctorate in again?
And, more curiously, did he not actually watch the documentary film (Genetic Roulette), that his own wife narrated, on the dangers of genetically modified foods -- the very same kind that are fed far and wide to feedlot animals, leading to all manner of diseases, infertility and death? Maybe I could mail him a copy.

Or could it be that this documentary and Dr. Oz's own earlier contributions to raising awareness on just how harmful the typical American diet is (with its genetically modified, pesticide-laden foods, etc.), is actually the reason the good doctor has now changed his tune? Was his message becoming too popular for his own good? One might argue that this article is just his attempt to offer folks more affordable ideas for healthy meals, but in reality, it's encouraging them to ingest more poisons, eventually making them sicker and causing them to die sooner, all while paying big corporations tons of money along the way. And so, if not from their pocketbook, the cost of consuming such a poor diet eventually comes at the expense of their health.

"There's even goodness to be found in some of the supermarket's seemingly most down-market fish and meats: those sold in cans..." he said. "Canned salmon in particular is as nourishing as if you caught a fresh salmon that afternoon... Let's also take a moment to celebrate the tuna-salad sandwich, which is to lunch what the '57 Chevy is to cars -- basic and brilliant."

Ehem... Here, Oz makes no mention whatsoever of the dangers of chemical preservatives, the likelihood of lead poisoning from the canned storage or even toxic mercury now so prevalent in most fish today. Plus, you needn't powers of observation more astute than a layperson's intuition to tell you that the nutritional content of fresh-caught salmon is far superior to that of canned salmon. (Duh.) And what of genetically modified salmon that's to be sold any day now to consumers who are none-the-wiser? What of the ecological and environmental dangers inherent when those Frankenfish escape into the wild, winning all the mating opportunities because they're larger, but thereby eventually killing off the species because they're supposedly sterile? (See Scientists Under Attack documentary.) Surely Dr. Oz is aware of all this... I just can't imagine he doesn't have access to this information just as I do. Or was this article some kind of ploy by Dr. Oz's puppet-masters, to establish an early demand for salmon just in time for the GM salmon to come to market? It all seems pretty fishy to me.

"Throughout the developed world," Oz persisted, "we are at a point in our evolution at which famine, which essentially governed the rise and fall of civilizations throughout history, is no longer an acute threat."

Oh? Tell that to the hundreds of thousands of farmers (in less developed countries) who've committed suicide in the last decade because their genetically modified crops (presumably intended largely to feed Americans) failed to perform year after year after year, but who, thanks to Monsanto's seed patents, were forced to purchase new seed each year anyway. GM monocrops and the pesticides/herbicides sprayed heavily onto them ravage the ecosystem, endanger diversity, spawn superbugs and superweeds and threaten the delicate balance necessary for the survival of all living things. The moment we take that balance for granted is the moment we have effectively written off our own species and the world at large. Yes, I'm making it sound dramatic... because it IS dramatic.

Adding insult to injury, Oz continued, "And we know more about the connection between food and health than ever before -- down to the molecular level, actually. This has provided us the curious luxury of being fussy, even snooty, about what we eat, considering some food, well, below our station. That's silly. Food isn't about cachet. It's about nourishment, pleasure and the profound well-being that comes from the way meals draw us together."

Is that what Type 1 diabetes is to Dr. Oz -- a "curious luxury"? I must say that, for my part, I've never considered myself fortunate to have developed this health condition that's now responsible for my being on the healing path that I am. I'm glad to be healing and I'm grateful for all I've learned, but does my journey make me some kind of an elitist for seeking out information on how to better maintain my health? If so, that's a pretty twisted definition of elitism, especially considering that diabetes is an affliction more common among the poor than it is the wealthy, who generally have better access to healthy foods than do lower income families.

And it's no exaggeration that the diet Dr. Oz recommends is similar to the diet which, I believe, directly contributed to my own diabetic condition. Clearly, while on it, I wasn't nourished well enough for my body to perform any meaningful healing so as to prevent the manifestation of my diabetes. So, if I and others like me claim proper nourishment as our goal but Dr. Oz's diet fails to accomplish it, what then would he have we chronically ill elitists do exactly -- not ask additional questions of our doctors and dietitians? Not do our own research and then happily share that knowledge with others? Just bend over and grab our ankles while big food and pharma companies have their way? If so, then the good doctor and the shadow powers-that-be lurking behind him have revealed themselves for what they really are: liars and truth-haters.

I want to know how this man sleeps at night. How does he justify selling such outright lies to so many who are likely to take him seriously and end up seriously sick? Does he not feel the weight of at least some responsibility to the truth, particularly when he's got the power to influence the habits of so many? And so what was it that caused him to pull this sudden 180-degree turn? Was his life threatened? Was his family threatened? His show? Or perhaps I'm naive for thinking him so noble. Was he bribed? Could it be that simple? It just seems like too dramatic a departure from his previous position to have come from him alone. I mean, we're not talking about just one or two carelessly worded comments amidst an otherwise informative article; no, this is a targeted, strategic and thorough attack on health-minded communities and individuals who might consider becoming more health-conscious. It appears to be a PR/marketing stunt on behalf of corporate gangsters (the like of those capable of building an Oz empire, perhaps), as though whoever held a gun to the good doctor's head added in a low voice: "And you better make me believe you mean it."

And sadly, we do... We really do.

Like Dorothy to the Wizard, "I don't think there's anything in that black bag for me."


  1. Thank you Angela, I do hope people are open enough to read this. Once people set their minds on a belief or an opinion about someone, they don't want to even listen to a different view. I'm glad I took the time to read. When I read about this a couple weeks ago, it was a bummer because I thought he was actually becoming more open to alternative ideas and practices. Thanks for making it neat and easy to take in--the hard truth!

  2. The most upsetting part of his positioning is the premise that "we know more about the connection between food and health than ever before"...therefore, everything I (Dr. Oz) says must be based on accurate scientific knowledge, and must be absolutely correct. It creates the arrogance you identify that gives him a credibility he shamelessly, and profitably, exploits. Sad, and difficult to counter, because the opposite is true--there are huge gaps in our knowledge about the connection between food and health, but the evidence that accumulates indicates the potential destructiveness of our current food habits on health. Thanks for pointing out the deficiencies in Oz's assessments.