DOWNEY - Retired from running his own business, 75-year-old longtime Downey resident Bob Earl (real name: Ed) doesn't equivocate when he declares that the pharmaceutical companies are in conspiracy with the doctors who prescribe them to their patients, and that we, the general population, are the losers in the process. His withering accusations, if true, condemn all the pharmaceutical firms and all practitioners - past, present and future - of the medical profession. And this is sad.
When I suggested that this will irritate, even enrage, all doctors on the planet, he said, "I don't care."
Nor does he care, he said, if pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer and the like condemn him for saying what needs to be said.
According to him, the truth of the matter is that the whole conspiracy feeds on profit. Take away prescribed drugs like Lipitor, and you take away the source of lucre for doctor and drug company alike, he said.
These are strong words. Earl is attacking the very foundations on which the whole edifice of medical science has been built over the years. Medical science has been built brick by brick by earnest, dedicated men of science, not to say men imbued with the noblest of moral values, and it's hard to imagine that it can be dismantled by a guy from Downey named Earl.
But, like I said, Earl is steadfast in his conviction that profit makes the medical world go round. He also makes such provocative statements as: "If our doctors were really competent, then we wouldn't have over a million Americans killed by cancer every year" or "We don't cure sickness in America, we only cure its symptoms" or "I don't care if other people agree with me - we're a very sick society, it's profitable that way."
On the other hand, Earl makes saner, if sometimes bland, comments such as: "It's boring to be in perfect health, but it sure is a lot of fun" or "America is over-drugged" or "The food business in America is big business" or "Every drug you take has side effects" or "Drugs are extremely overpriced."
That said, I agree with him when he quotes (heavily, I might add) from the findings of food and health experts found in magazines and in the literature tips such as:
"Foods you should almost never eat: 1) Sugar; 2) White flour; 3)White rice; 4)Milk; 5) Salt; 6) Hot dogs and sausage; 7) (Limited) red meats; 8) Snack foods; 9) Margarine; 10) Artificial Sweeteners;
"Foods you should eat more often: 1) Vegetables; 2) Fruit; 3) Flax seed; 4) Whole grain rice; 5) Fiber (both soluble and insoluble); 6) Beans and lentils; 7) Wild salmon; 8) Omega 3 fatty acids; 9) Filtered water; 10) Eat 5% less;
"Ten ways to add years to your life: 1) See yourself as healthy each day; 2) Adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle; 3) Keep your cholesterol below 180 and your BP near 120/70; 4) Maintain a steady weight throughout your life; 5) Adopt a regular exercise program; 6) Don't smoke; 7) Eat a diet that reduces the chances for the top 4 killers (heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes - identified in 2004 as the leading causes of death in the U.S. among males and females between the ages of 40 and 90); 8) Remember, life is too short to get angry; 9) Practice extending more loving-kindness and patience; Drive a big car and buckle up!"
He next touches on the topic "Doubling up on your veggies." This is followed by "Why you should care about pesticides," then by "Antioxidants" in which he enumerates 101 fruits and vegetables that spell healthy aging, then by the so-called "glycemic index," then by "You are what you drink" with a lengthy section on 'The pause that refreshes or the poison that destroys?', then a section on how "Apple peels contain 12 anti-cancer compounds called 'triterpenoids'". Then, finally, he discusses the important role the banana plays in countering a long list of illnesses and conditions such as depression, PMS, anemia, blood pressure, its contribution to brain power, in regulating constipation, in combating stress and even cutting the risk of strokes.
By following these tips, he says you should not get sick, and you should be able to extend your life by twenty years. (The current life expectancy for men, he says, is 78, and 82 for women.)
He says he can back all this up, he can authenticate everything he has said.
These topics form his talks to local organizations such as the Soroptimist Club and the Rotary Club from time to time. The last group he addressed, two months ago, was based at Downey Regional Medical Center.
The title of his address is "How to Survive to 105." His purpose? "To educate people, to help them extend their life," Earl says. "We spend much too much money over the last 3-4 years of our life. By extending our life span, we can enjoy the remaining years of our lives more. "
Centerpiece of his talk is the 4-legged stool: one leg is colored red, signifying the various food supplements one should take (he himself, he says, takes 42 supplements); a second leg is colored white, signifying the power of the mind to keep one well; the third leg is colored blue, for regular physical exercise; and the fourth one is green, for what you should eat.
Earl, a member of the Downey Los Amigos Kiwanis Club, says he got dedicated to studying the secrets of longevity after his dad died of a heart attack at the untimely age of 47. "So I started studying why people die." His finding: people don't die, they are all killed. So he read everything he could lay his hands on the subject.
He claims he feels no aches and pains, that he maintains a regular 6-day a week exercise program, and does 1,000 jumps on the trampoline over the course of a week, and on MWF lifts 15-lb. dumbbells, and on TThS, does 120 pushups. He says his physical fitness translates into perfect vision.
"Less than one percent of people can read fine print. I belong to this group."
Because he suffered a heart attack in 2000, he admits to taking a 70-mg.baby aspirin from time to time and otherwise doesn't take any medicine at all. Contrary to his statement earlier about the conspiratorial medical-pharmaceutical complex, he admits to seeing a cardiologist "every once in a while." Even so, his advice to people is to stop taking all kinds of prescription drugs "because they really don't do any good."
"It's fun to be well," he repeats. "It's a pain to be sick."
********** Published: March 7, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 47