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People are fascinated with the doomsday, “what if?” scenario… and it’s a fascination that our first guest on today’s Off the Grid Radio is banking on. Rob Underhill, director of The Lynching of Emmet Till (which won eight different film festival awards), is now in the midst of another project – a television series titled The Carrington Event, one which explores the “what ifs?” after a singular solar event knocks the power grid… forever.
Our second guest today is Jerry Brunetti, co-founder of Agri-Dynamics. Brunetti speaks to host Bill Heid and Brian Brawdy about the increasing incidences of cancer and how our lifestyles of poor diet, stress, and toxins (to name a few) are responsible for the increased incidence of disease and inflammation in western society.
Off The Grid Radio
Release Date May 2, 2013
Bill: And here is the show. I’m Bill Heid, your host for Off the Grid News, the radio version. I’d like to welcome everybody today. We have a very special guest today. We have Rob Underhill with us, the producer, director or the Carrington Event and we want to talk a little bit about the Carrington Event and just what this involves and his take on it, how he got the idea. So, let’s jump right into it. Rob, how are you today?
Rob: Fantastic. Thanks for having me on, Bill.
Bill: Great to have you. I have to ask at the beginning, just so folks know, and the rest of it, that you’re producing this series, a television series on what happens if we get the Carrington Effect, the solar flare of that magnitude. That’s what this show’s about and we’re going to discuss this. This is going to be available to watch very soon, so people pay attention towards the end, we’ll tell you how you can learn more about it. Rob, how in the world did you get started? What precipitated this in your mind? Every great thing starts with a thought. What were you thinking?
Rob: Well, I think a lot of people are complete fascinated with the whole survival thing and the disaster genre, epic proportions. A good friend of mine, Larry Gardner, had originally started looking into this a few years back and he works with me a lot as an editor on many of my projects. We got to bouncing ideas and talking about what might happen if something the size of the Carrington Event of 1859 effect were to happen today. That’s where we started to precipitate this idea of a small town and really concentrating on a small family on the outskirts of town to bring the viewer into it so they can kind of experience it at the pace that the family is experiencing it. We thought that would be a really excellent vehicle for showing the quiet disaster it is, but of course, it’s very epic in proportions once it gets started. People don’t realize it’s happening, but once it gets takes hold, it really spells “doom” for a lot of people that are not prepared for it.
Bill: Sure and I think one of the things we talk about a lot here as well is just this idea of civilization of being veneer thin. As a writer, what intrigued me about what you’re doing is you had the ability to develop characters who you strip away all the white noise, Rob. In other words, we all have this in our lives and there’s these bumpers that make us who we are. We’re kind of protected, but when you get into a situation where we’re sort of laid bare and at the end of the day you lose this, you lose that, and you don’t have all of these little fences around you as a human being. I love the idea as a writer to be able to develop these characters, this husband, this wife, this young 18 year old girl and her boyfriend and how these relationships grow, or sometimes maybe not grow as fast or even go the other way based on some stresses that happen to them because of this event that didn’t happen before. Just talk a little bit about that as a writer, just being able to play with that idea.
Rob: Absolutely, because what we focused on at the beginning is the fact that we’re all sort of relying on our modern day conveniences, our iPads, our iPhones, all of our devices that make our living part of our everyday lives. When you strip that away, our ability to use these things, the family was quite despondent when they start and the main belief of the father character, he really grows into his own once technology is gone, because he’s very rustic. He runs his organic farm business. He’s detached from his family because they are growing in all these different directions. They’re so distracted by these modern day things that once this happens, of course, they all have to come together by necessity, but also they grow in caring about each other and respect for each other. In a way, it is a family drama. In fact, at our world premier, we’ve been nominated for best family drama, which I was not expecting. That was pretty cool, that the family elements and the character development are really strong in this project.
Bill: Very cool. Another sort of theme that runs through this kind of thing is I was thinking about hard times as you just mentioned. What happens when people are drawn together? You get a lot conflict because they’re bringing together “I want to have the world my way”, and if you have five, six, seven people, let alone a world that wants to run the world their way, that kind of has a little bit of what we all have to yield to a greater good. I was thinking about, as I was looking through your stuff, about the Great Depression, and culturally then, I think, people were able to contract back to the family unit. There were people who had moved away to the cities in the Great Depression, and then the lack of economic growth forced people back. You had grandparents and young families living with middles-aged families, kind of what you’re trying to concoct, but the difference, I think, is during the Great Depression, you had some sort of moral fiber that still was in existence, even if you read Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, or something, there’s these problems, but yes, people get killed, people get murdered occasionally, but it’s a huge deal. Today, people will kill for a pair of tennis shoes. How do you see the contract between the culture then, the culture now, given the fact that if probably something like this happened, there would be this contraction where we would go back to groups and units that we know and trust.
Rob: It’s definitely a more “me, me, me” culture and it’s also very individualized. We all are taught at a young to be out for ourselves and to grow ourselves. This connection to kin and community is much diminished, so when we need to rely on each other, even if you want a baby sitter, it’s hard to find one because you don’t’ have a good connection to your local… if you’re in a suburb or you’re in a cul-de-sac somewhere and you probably don’t even know your next-door-neighbors in a lot of cases. It’s really a testament to what it is to have strong social connections and the importance of that. In a crisis like this, you won’t have police and other civil services to rely on after long. In some cases, not even from the outset, like in big cities, it might be really chaotic. At least in the Great Depression, you still had a justice system that was still intact. You had civil services and you had electricity going to the places that you needed. In this case, you’re stripping another layer off with a civilization population that’s heavily reliant on things like logistics and relying on everything to regulate their daily lives. On top of that, they’re all individualized, so what people will be looking for is strong leaders who can bring them together. That may, of course, include the formation of gangs and other types of bodies that are bad for everybody, but it will become a case where if it’s a choice between surviving and not surviving, you’re going to go with whoever can take care of you.
Bill: So, when you were coming up with this conceptually, how did your thoughts about this whole thing evolve? In other words, it’s one thing for you to say, “Hey, I wonder what would happen on the surface if there were suddenly this loss of the grid and loss of some of these things, but as you develop this, you start see there’s a kind of cascading event that happens where you don’t just lose X, you lose Y and Z. The tipping point ought to be really something we think about because things tip at different levels that goes forward like Gladwell’s idea of a fax machine, but it also goes backwards, so you can get the reverse tipping point things. Did your thinking evolve as you were writing this, or even actually in the process of producing it?
Rob: Oh, sure. My writing partner, Allen Gies, and I for the TV series, we have 13 one–hour episodes written that we’re networking. We had to really think deeply about how civil services would break down over time and how that would affect our family unit that we’re concentrating on. There’s lots of other stories happening like how life works in the hospitals. We experience how things are transpiring in the hospitals, and also the police precinct in this small town becomes a big part of the story. We’re also introduced to the town and what’s happening there. There’s also an appearance by Raleigh, North Carolina so that town could change as a major city to see glimpses of what’s happening in a bigger city as things digress. We definitely give the viewer at first a very encapsulated environment like our characters have, but then we start bringing in more and more of the outside world, which can be really pretty scary for, I think, a viewer too, because people are going to watch this and imagine “what is life going to be like for me and what would I do in this case”. We wanted to make sure we created the most realistic environment on every level from just how it is to, because this family is pretty elf-sufficient, they can last. If nobody ever bothered them, but the problem is no one is an island, so people eventually leave the cities as they diminish resources and come to places like the Carrington homestead to take what they need. We had to consider all these things as the story develops.
The series itself only lasts the first two weeks after the event, so in just under two weeks, the way that we’re basing this on and I think it’s kind of conservative, is there’s almost like a complete breakdown of basis things and a level of barbarism starts to emerge as people need water, something to eat, you can go a couple of days, but you start going a little crazy after that. Then, put on top of that, the ability to get radio or television or any other updates to help coordinate people or make them feel better, then hysteria sets in and things get pretty out of control.
Bill: I’m curious how you had in writing this, and I’m not asking you to reveal too much, Rob, but just inside the construction of this idea, when I look at something like this, I look at my own family. You know what? Some of us within my family would not be afraid to use deadly force. However, some of us in my family, and no man’s an island even inside his own family, some of us in my family, I’m thinking of my wife, would say, “You got to help this person. You got to do this for that person. You can’t shoot that person. You can’t do…”, you know, Maybe that voice would not only be of my wife, but the voice of my conscience speaking to me as well, because a guy in two weeks inside your show, as the planner of your show, an ordinary person who’s caught up in the division of labor in the Western world who’s so far away from living the way that you’re positing here, he’s going to have to make some quick decisions. I’m curious how, if you’ve got some characters mitigating against, you know, men tend to be a little tougher, how are the women reacting?
Rob: Sure, yes, our characters are very well developed and very representative of a cross section of society in different ways of handling the stress and what’s happening. We do have characters that think you should be more hospitable, or you should be more on guard and ready to defend yourself, even in the trailer, you’ll see the comment by the boyfriend that he believes they should be able to use deadly force at least until things get under control. Of course, everyone believes that just around the corner things are going to get under control, but, of course, if people sit around and wait, then they’re even more in trouble than the people that go out and start doing something about it. Yes, we definitely wanted to have representation from all different types and we put the characters in those situations. We make sure that they have to decide, “Do we bring this person is. Can we afford it? What if everyone finds out that we’ve got more resources? How are we going to handle those people, the influx of those people, or word spreading?” There’s all these considerations. These people aren’t in the middle of nowhere. They’re not in a little hidden valley somewhere with dinosaurs. They’re right on the outskirts. It’s just a matter of…
Bill: They could eat the dinosaurs.
Rob: It’s a matter of people panning out and finding they need and they’ll run into them, so they have to figure out how they’re going to… maybe merge with their neighbors to defend themselves if they need to.
Bill: Sure and there’s this kind of effect you get like even if you go into a foreign country where begging, I would think of India, for example, if you’re walking down the street and once you give away charitable item one, instantly, you’re overwhelmed with a thousand people that want the same thing. Can that model sustain itself? Walking up and down the street of Mumbai is “no”. It can’t sustain itself. People do have to make hard decisions just about what they’re going to give away and the TV show, if nothing else, is going to expose that part that our listeners better have an answer to. “How would I react?” If it does nothing else, it better make you think, “Who am I in this situation?”
Rob: Yes, that is a warning story about protecting our infrastructure and protecting our electric grids from these kinds of events. But it’s also the story, a little bit of a warning, on how we develop society and grow together. Are we really watching out for ourselves and our interests or are we going along for the ride as corporations or the government lays it out for us? As I mentioned earlier, our society has become much more individualized as time has gone on. I’m seeing a resurgence of people forming groups with things like Facebook, even facilitate this, which is kind of cool, where people are coming together. Of course, they can’t help each other when Facebook goes down from the crisis, but we do see a kind of resurgence of people wanting to group and form kin and connection with each other and that’s definitely encouraging.
Bill: Yes, we don’t like to use the word tribes because it sounds kind of primitive, but people kind of tribe up when there’s superficial stress that you can get inside and say, “Well, what say ye? Who believes the same things that I believe?” Then you sort of get in that group. Some people like, I guess it’s maybe unfair to pin on the Vikings because they weren’t always like that, but some folks say, “My philosophy is I’m going to rape and pillage”, and some groups are going to say, “We’re going to defend against those who do rape and pillage.” So, right away, you have two contrasting groups. The idea of thinking that that’s segregated to some place in history and that people won’t tribe up again, I think, is really nonsense.
Rob: Yes, it is. It’ll be, I think, especially at the outset of something like hits, it’ll be a big collision of forces between people trying to keep the peace, opportunists that will individually and in groups try to take advantage either by looting or possibly even raiding a bank, or there’ll be arson, there’ll be break-ins. People will be drawn to either groups to protect themselves or to, in the need for resources and… We’ve seen things like when London lost power a couple of years ago, there was immediately riots and craziness. Other places are pretty calm about it. I was in Michigan when we had the big blackout that was from Canada through Michigan all because of a transformer failure, and that was pretty interesting how everybody was very calm and collected. They just exited and there was no trouble. Of course, some hours later things were back to normal. There are varying reactions everywhere. We wanted to take a not a conservative approach, but something that we felt was a little more an average reaction at least in the area that we chose to have this event unfold. It still is a recipe for a lot of pandemonium, and of course, a lot of good drama.
Bill: Tony Belha, in our studio, has a question for you. Tony, what were you going to ask Rob?
Tony: Yes, Rob, what you guys set up is showing everything in a small town atmosphere, what unfolds as chaos takes place, especially even like in an urban area on a farm. I don’t know if you’re familiar with The Walking Dead, AMC’s Walking Dead. What they do in Season 2 is they bring things to a farm setting where people can group and bond and form that relationship, but when they start the season, they’re looking at how crazy things are in the big city in Atlanta, particularly for that show. What are you seeing? Are these leeches? Are these people that are coming from the big city and don’t know how to protect themselves? Are they going to end up taking over? Are they similar to what they portray as being zombies in The Walking Dead?
Rob: That’s a great question. Of course, I’m familiar with the big hit series and hopefully will be taking over for them as they dwindle down. Of course, we will always want no allusions to what’s happening in the greater world. We feed them morsels as we go about tapping all over the world, not just in the big cities in the United States, because this is a worldwide event. There will be a time for the series as well because the first season is only focused on the first 14 days, but the next season, the intention is to go months ahead and many more months ahead after that. So, at some point, there will be a question of what happens to these giant groups of people.
In some estimations there’ll be in the big cities anywhere from 50 to 80 percent die-off of people. That’s a pretty astounding number over a couple year period. It’s very possible if you literally in the dark for years and you’ve got enough resources to last a couple of days in the city, you know, the miracle of logistics means we get stuff in twice a week in our stores. The fallacy of it is that we’ll run out of stuff. The first time we have a hurricane come through, they clean out the stores. If you have an ice storm, they clean out the stores. When this happens, they’ll clean out the stores and then they’ll be wondering where does my next meal come from? You’ve got an army and you’ve got national guard and they can help for a little bit in the places they’re most needed, but that’s spread pretty thin in a place the size of the United States, even with our sizeable army and reserves. It’ll be a very quick process of things descending into (inaudible 19:41). Yes, the reference to The Walking Dead is great because when you’re starving, you become quite a bit like that and you become quite a bit desperate to do whatever it takes to eat something including the unthinkable type of things.
Bill: The unthinkable, yes, Soylent Green. You have to portray this on the sets so I’m wondering, too, did you have any kind of epiphanies or can an actor stay straight as an actor and be detached from this as he’s doing it? You’ve got Rusty Martin, Sr. playing Blake Carrington. You’re taking Rusty through this as an actor. I’m just curious as you’re watching, can an actor play this role and then go play Hamlet from Shakespeare next week and not have anything at all, a carryover philosophically?
Rob: There’s definitely some emotionally powerful scenes that that same day it would be hard for them to go to another role later that evening. Usually, actors are working on one major project at a time, even if it’s for a couple of weeks. Yes, that, of course, is their job and working with someone who’s as experienced as Rusty or Regina, who’s playing the character of Anna, or any of these guys, they’re all fantastic actors that I’m thrilled to work with. They can all pull it off. It is a separation. It does affect you a little bit especially the people that tend more toward the method acting where they want to actually be in the zone and have the feelings. It’ll be somewhat effective, but a good night’s sleep, and it’s a very positive, fun environment on set, so we make sure that in between shots, even if it’s a really dramatic one, we’re laughing, relaxing and taking a break as needed. It all works out.
Bill: I want also to talk a little bit about the production value and let people know that this is going to be a really good production. You won some awards for a previous picture that you did, The Lynching or Emmett Till in 2012. I just want to talk briefly about that, so people can know a little better feel for who you are and what you like to produce.
Rob: Yes, yes, we had two short films before that that won a combined 30 film festival awards and a bunch of nominations including a Black Reel nomination, which is a very cool award for African American cinema. Then The Lynching of Emmett Till feature film that came out in 2012. That’s won eight Best Film awards including the hallowed Black Film Festival, which is an African American film festival. Even as lots of attraction in the film festival circuit, but getting connected with the people who produce, promote and distribute, so we’re getting more and more connected to that world as we move forward. That certainly helped in the production of this, The Carrington Event, and with the series attracting the quality of people we need because they know that we’re producing a top-notch work and that this is going to be something they want to be a part of.
Bill: So as they want to be a part of this, where do you think this is going to end up? What network do you think it’s going to end up on?
Rob: That’s a really great question. We’ve had a couple of networks actually check it out early on and we’ll be revisiting them as the world premier occurs with The Carrington Event. Of course, we’re going to branch out and see what happens. We have a few options we of course, would love to do the TV series. Another possibility is doing a mini-series. We’ve got everything constructed in a way where we can approach this different ways. I’m not averse to doing another feature film as well, if we had an investment source we would love to tap into that. That, of course, can always break into a series after that as well. We’re wide open to what happens next and we have lots of material, lots of gung ho. Of course, just a fantastic promise and story line, and as the world premiers at the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina, they’ve nominated us for three awards there for our first presentation. That’s pretty exciting and emboldening. We look forward to seeing what happens to the film after that. It’ll be touring all over the country
Bill: If the guys in Wilmington, can we just walk in off the street or do I need some kind of special thing, a placard or something to hang around my neck? Will I be thrown out by big guys?
Rob: No, it is part of the film festival so it’s going to Saturday at 5:30. I do advise anyone to get their ticket ahead of time because it will sell out.
Bill: And what’s the date? It’s May, right?
Rob: May 11th.
Bill: May 11th, 5:30.
Rob: People need to get their tickets soon because they’re going to go.
Bill: Very cool. Anything else that you want to say? This has been a wonderful interview, Rob, and it’s great to get to know you and to learn more about how thing’s going to play. It’s a little bit open at this point, in terms of how we’re going to see it. We’ll link up the trailer. What’s the website that if people want to get teased more on what you’re trying to pull off, that they can at least hang out and take a jump into it a little bit?
Bill: Yes, we have a growing group on Facebook, as well. In your Windows, a search for The Carrington Event, they’ll find it. Of course, you can search for that on YouTube to find the trailer and it’s one of the first couple of choices that pops up. The website is thecarringtonevent.com.
Rob: Thank you so much, Rob. As I said, it’s been great to talk to you and we’ll try to get this out and get as many people involved as possible. Rob Underhill, thank you again.
Rob: Thank you so much, Bill.
Bill: We’ll be right back. We are indeed back with Off the Grid Radio. We have another guest. Not only do we have another guest, but in this segment with me in the studio is my good friend and co-host, Brian Brawdy. Brian, welcome back.
Brian: Thank you very much. It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other or at least sat across from the same table. We do a lot of stuff via the internet and satellite as you know, but (inaudible 26:27)…
Bill: It’s great to see you.
Brian: Good to see you as always and I’m very about being included. We’ve spoken to our next guest before, but one of my favorite things that he’s done is a two CD set, The Ten Things You Should Do to Prevent or Treat Cancer. As you know, Bill, I’m coming off of a four-week period where I lost my mom, my nephew and my dog to cancer. So, when you said to me this morning in the pre-meeting, “Hey, Bri, here’s what we’re going to be doing,” I’m like great news? I’m kind of like emotionally invested in the topic of cancer as I say, over the last month or so. If it’s okay with you, I’ll go ahead and jump right to…
Bill: Certainly, Brian.
Brian: Jerry Brunetti. We’re going to be hanging out this morning for a full half hour with Jerry Brunetti, the cop-founder of Agri-Dynamics. It has a vision, Bill, as you know of providing a line of holistic and animal remedies for farm livestock, equine and pets. He also has an unparalleled understanding of the inner related dynamics of biological systems. When you really want to see his insight, his true genius jump on board, it’s when he correlates what we know of plant nutrition to animal and human needs. He’s got a couple of great websites that we’ll reference in the end, but this is the guy that’s in the know. Ladies and gentlemen and Bill, please say “hello” to Mr. Jerry Brunetti. Jerry, how are you?
Jerry: I’m great. How are you?
Brian: I’m doing good. Thank you so much.
Jerry: Yes, thanks for having me. Good to be on.
Bill: Jerry, this is Bill again. Thanks again for being on, as you say. One of the things that I think is sort of connective tissue of the… I’ll be playful with words a little bit… but something that connects to the dots with a lot of problems, a lot of paradigms that you have in your world. You’ve beaten cancer. You’ve beaten a lot of these things, but at the core of a lot of disease, and I know you spoke about this topic at the Nutritional Therapy Association recently, but it’s spring and time to plant some plants. It’s another reason why we all ought to be very interested in gardening and farming and taking control of our food. The topic that I think is important and fun is inflammation. You did this topic before at Acres Conference, but I want to boil it down and I wanted to get some speaker notes and see what you talked about at this recent conference, but here we are. What’s creating inflammation and just tell us a little bit about all the connective problems with chronic inflammation.
Jerry: Sure. Well, if you look at some of the research that’s actually been published in the regular consumer media like Time Magazine and USA Today, you’ll hear a lot more about the word “inflammation” because they’re now recognizing that most of the chronic illnesses – cancer, cardio vascular illness, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and so on, they all have an inflammatory component to them and they seem to be associated with the fact that lifestyle, diet, stress, are all contributors to the inflammatory process. The real question is, “Why all the inflammation? Where’s it coming from?” and just as importantly, more importantly perhaps, is what do you do about it? I oftentimes get asked the question, “You have a lot of information here about how you dealt with your own cancer and it’s a little bit overwhelming. Can you boil it down to just a few things?” and the answer to that is, “Well, yes and no”, but the ‘yes” part is you basically got to look at what’s driving most of the inflammation. I would say that most of the inflammation is being driven by two main components. Number One is excessive carbohydrates, and Number Two is the consumption of excessive bad lipids or bad fats. What do we mean by that? Well, the carbohydrate consumption in the United States includes not just sugar, and that’s extraordinary.
I mean back in 1946, I think the statistics I read, the average per capita consumption of sodas, which can have anywhere from 13 to 20 teaspoons of sugar per 20-ounce serving was about ten and a half gallons per capita per year. Today that’s around 60 gallons. That means somebody is drinking a hell of a lot more than I am because I don’t drink any of it, and that’s an average. There’s about 160 pounds of sugar being consumed annually per capita per year right now, which is a tremendous amount of insulin that’s being produced because of that, which is why the Type II Diabetes is skyrocketing. I mean we’re looking at one out of three Americans is either clinically diagnosed as a diabetic or is what we call “Syndrome X Pre Diabetic”. That’s 33 percent of the American population is either clinically diagnosed or is on the verge of getting diabetes. That’s a tremendous statistic because diabetes is the number one source of lower limb amputation. It’s the number one source of blindness. It’s the number one source of kidney dialysis; number one source of stroke. These are big ticket items. This is a chronic illness that’s totally preventable. Fortunately reversible. It’s a highly inflammatory process. The other component is bad fats. In fact, before I go to that, the acronym for sugar consumption in terms of the damage it does to the tissues is called “AGES”. It stands for “Advanced glycation end products.” What you’re getting is a cross linking between sugars and proteins in the body tissue. That’s what causes essentially the breakdown of the tissue. It’s one of the contributors to premature wrinkling. That’s one component.
The other component is advanced lypoxidation in end products or ALES. This is from mostly either an excess of Omega 6 fats or more likely an excess of damaged Omega 6 fats. What I mean by that is that most of the Omega 6’s that we use in cooking like corn oil or cottonseed oil and such, particularly in the fast food industry, they get damaged form heat and oxidation. They create what’s known as peroxidized lipids. Peroxidized lipids are basically rancid fats and they cause a lot of cell membrane damage to all your tissues. Now you’ve got more inflammatory responses. The body a good job in acute situations to inflame itself. What I mean by that is when we have a fever, it’s an inflammatory reaction to an infection, for example, or if you sprain your ankle and you get swelling and histamines show upon the ankle, it’s an inflammatory healing response to an injury. But those are what we call “temporary or acute reactions” that go away. When they go away, there’s a healing response that shows back up. That’s the way the pulse works. So, you get inflammation to primarily deal with the immediate acute incident and then you have a recovery period. When you have inflammation on 24/7, you start having all kinds of damage to everything. That’s why these chronic illnesses are now attributed to that one word, the flyers within called inflammation. That’s it in a nutshell.
There’s other things, too. There’s toxins in the environment that contribute to this. There’s stress from your job, bad relationships, or living in a dangerous neighborhood, whatever it might be. Stress actually disrupts the hormonal rhythms that you end up producing a lot more cortisol when you don’t need it. That causes inflammatory consequences. There’s also issues like heavy metals and everybody, I think, gets contaminated with heavy metals. I certainly was. I still am. Mercury from eating a lot of fish unfortunately. Fish is a great food. Unfortunately, some of the most delectable fishes like tuna aren’t safe to eat anymore. Mercury in the mouth. Mercury from eating tuna fish and some of the other large predatory fishes like swordfish can really lead up to an accumulation of things like mercury, or it might be lead, or arsenic or cadmium, all of those things are extremely damaging to the micro-biome or the biological community that lives in us and on us. Human beings consist of about ten trillion cells. That’s your organs, your muscles, your brain, your eyes, your heart, your visceral organs, but there’s ten times that many cells in the form of microbes that live in us and on us.
When you’re dealing with inflammation, oftentimes what you’re focusing on are inflammatory responses based on genetic expression. The genes are turning on certain switches or they’re turning off certain switches based on the environment, so that’s a thing that we call “epigenetics” as opposed to “genetics”. In other words, it’s the behavior of our genes, not just the genes that we have that we inherited from our ancestors, but it’s the behavior of the genes based on the environment that we’re living in. That environment, like I said, could be what we eat, the workplace we’re in and so forth. The genetic expression then translates into an inflammatory response as well. While the genome was unraveled in the 90’s, and we found out that we have something like 23,000 genes, give or take. That was quite a shocker to the genome scientists because they expected to fine 60 to 100,000 genes, because after all, we’re the superior species, humans that is. They were quite intrigued with the fact that they only found 23,000 genes. Soybeans have more genes than humans have. That translated into why and we find out that well, genes have many, many functions. They don’t just have one function – to build and repair proteins. They have many other functions. The genetic switches that are involved with them being turned on or turned off are relevant now to what we say is an epigenome, which is really the genome that is based on the behavior, which is based on the environment influencing that behavior.
That being said, when they started unraveling the microbiome, which is the bacteria that live on us and in us, finding out that we have 100,000 of those cells. They’re unique, so if you live in the arctic versus the tropics, you have a different body ecology based on the environment that you actually are growing out of. Then, it also has a lot to do with what you eat or how contaminated you are, and other factors that could influence the ecology of the body. Now we know that the epigenome that we have is also including the macrobiotic community, not just the cells that make us up, but the cells that make up them, which is also an extension of us, the macrobiotic community, that is. The genome of the macrobiotic community is 8.5 million genes versus 23,000 genes that make up the body. What we’re saying is that there’s this internal universe of genetic expression that going on based on not just our organs and tissues, but also the microbiological community that’s an extension of us. Interestingly enough, we’re less than a third of one percent genetically us. The other 99 percent is them.
Brian: That’s an amazing thing to think about because we don’t have much time, I want to steer you a little bit into this idea of how can a guy with a garden, if you’ve got some space in your backyard, I guess the thing that I like to chat a little bit about with you with the remaining time that we have is how can we use a backyard garden to flip some of the switches positively and if not put out the fire, at least throw some water on the fire within.
Jerry: Well, in order to sequester or sequench the fires within, you have to have antioxidant compounds that turn on the antioxidant enzymes. The primary antioxidant enzyme is glutathione, which is the main driver of the anti-inflammatory cascade. That’s the enzyme that consists of three amino acids, glycine, glutamic acid and cysteine. Those amino acids and the anti-oxidants that are partners with that are found in those fresh vegetables. If you’re eating things like greens, tomatoes, which have a red pigment in there that’s actually a carotenoid or a carotene. It’s called lycopene and lycopene is an extremely anti-inflammatory pigment. It’s very good for preventing prostate and breast cancer, but it has a whole lot of other properties to it. If you’re eating the brassicas like kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, they have these wonderful sulfated amino acid compounds like diindolylmethane and indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates. These are all wonderful compounds that help the liver conjugate poisons and get them out of the body. If you’re eating squashes and carrots, you have other carotenes in there – cryptoxanthin, and beta carotene. Those are very anti-inflammatory. If you’re eating greens like endive and arugula, we see the chlorophyll, which makes them green, but if you strip the chlorophyll out of there, you get yellow compounds and they’re called lutein. Lutein is one of the most important yellow pigments.
You also find it in eggs from pastured chickens, that yellow yoke loaded with lutein, which prevents macular degeneration. What you want to eat is the rainbow because the rainbow has all these carotenoids. By the say, there’s about 600 identified carotenoids or carotenes now that are found in mostly vegetables and fruits. Growing a garden is a real good medicine chest, to eat the rainbow and eat these flame quenching anti-oxidants and these carotenes.
Bill: I have a question for you, Jerry. A lot of people like to take supplements. Talk a little bit… you know, we’re not necessarily anti-supplement here, but talk a little bit about how all of the biological, connectivity, the bio availability is so much better out of your garden than out of the local pharmacy or health food store. If something’s in a bottle, it’s kind of been killed a little bit in order to sustain the shelf life, so talk a little bit about why someone should… if he’s going to eat the rainbow, it probably shouldn’t be a handful of pills. If possible it should be foods that you actually eat from your garden.
Jerry: Supplements have their place, particularly in sick people or you’re trying to ramp up certain levels of certain substances like you know, say Q10 or whatever, but for the most part, if you’re eating a good diet that’s loaded with a lot of diversity, and that’s the key – diversity… We only eat a handful of foods in the United States, or in western cultures, when our ancestors ate hundreds even thousands of varieties. Every plant has its own ability to synthesize compounds. If you look at Dr. James Duke’s work when he was with the USDA, which was like a decade worth of work, where they were actually isolating all these components that are found in foods or herbs or whatever, you find out that there’s hundreds of these compounds that have been isolated, and they all work in tandem. They’re medicinal. They’re nutritional. They’re detoxifying. This is an interesting issue that every food is both nutritionally competent, and auto toxic. All foods contains toxins, even the ones that we think are the most nutritious foods also contain toxins. Some of these toxins actually translate into medicinals.
The important part is that if you eat a lot of variety of foods, the “toxins” in food number one if antidote by the anti-toxins that are detoxifiers in food number two, and so on and so on. The more you eat diverse diet, the more you consume this diversity, the more nutrition you buildup, the more medicine you build up, the more detoxification you build up. You don’t get that out of supplements because they’re isolates. They extract item A compound out of a food and concentrate it. That’s okay, but you’re better off if you’re going to take that supplement making sure you get the food that came from with all the dozens, maybe hundreds, of cofactors like tomatoes. Just the research that Duke did 400 different compounds found in a red tomato. If you take lycopene, that’s one. That’s a good compound, but I think it would be a whole lot more effective if lycopene was consumed with all the cofactors that are found in the original parent plant.
Bill: Yes, because it’s kind of designed, I mean there’s a sort of design here it would seem that the nutrition is, there’s support substances along with, that sort of balance each other out. Maybe I’m not speaking effectively there, Jerry, but it seems like there’s a harmony there in foods that we have and as we add diversity to that harmony, you get something really that the average American doesn’t eat eating fast food. As a matter of fact, you get the worst of things when you’re eating fried sugar. You’re getting the Omega 6’s and you’re getting the insulin spike and you’re getting the worst of all possible worlds. We’re saying, “Look, there’s a better paradigm here because of this great balance that exists.”
Jerry: It’s a synergy. We call it the synergy or the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. You can’t even quantify the synergistic effect of dozens or hundreds of compounds in one plant when you eat it. Then you eat multiple plants, so you’re consuming thousands of compounds and there’s a synergy that’s evolved over eons of time where the human frame has acclimated itself to these synergistic possibilities. That’s where health is built from, from diversity. You’re right. People are eating breakfast at Dunkin Donuts, lunch at McDonald’s and then dinner maybe at home. It’s no wonder we have all this inflammation and why we’re going to have a tremendous continuing health implosion. We don’t have health care in this country. We trying to manage diseases with drugs and it’s a disaster.
Bill: Yes, I think we could be more excited about Obamacare if it had some kind of vegetable consumption part of it. I don’t know how you would do that. If you focus on that, you keep people healthy, you keep them alert. People are more productive. We can work harder. We can think better. We can do all those things way out ahead of this curve. You wait until you’re sick and you’re a tremendous burden. If you look at that bulk of the population, Jerry, our baby boomers, my age, somebody very much younger than me, is going to have to pay for my healthcare and they’re going to have to pay for all the consumption of the sugars and bad fats that you were just talking about. This isn’t just some isolated abstraction. There’s real life not only pain and suffering involved if you go to a nursing home, look at the people missing their feet. There’s obviously that, but there’s an economic issue that’s going to affect young people that are currently saying, “Well, that’s doesn’t apply to me.” This is real stuff.
Jerry: You hit that one on the head. Also, the fact that there generation is going to get hammered harder than our generation, because they’re not getting the nutrition density that our parents had higher levels than we did, and we have higher levels than they will. Each generation’s going to get weaker and more susceptible because the epigenetic issue is inheritable. Hardwired genetics, the hard drive of genetics is what you inherit form you ancestors, but that’s only five to ten percent of the disease issues that we struggle with. The other 95 percent of the disease issues we struggle with are the epigenetics. You inherit the behavior of your ancestors up to about five to seven generations. The good news is that you can reverse it. You can’t reverse bad “genetics”, but you can reverse epigenetics. That’s what Dr. Pottenger proved back in the 40’s with the 900 Pottenger cat studies that he did over 10 years to show how you deviate from an archetypal healthy diet and go downstream from that, you start crashing and burning the entire genome of the animals and they can’t reproduce. They don’t’ have mothering instincts and so forth. This was done back in the 40’s and he made a prediction saying that “If you folks (meaning us) don’t straighten out your food system now, (the comment was made in 1950) you’re going to have major sterility fertility problems in about a half century”. Here we are. We have more than that. We have all the other issues going along with it. The epigenetic issue… you know, we’re patching on our bad behavior of our generation onto the next generation and now into yet another generation or two. I’m a baby boomer as well and I have grandkids. We’re already there.
Brian: Jerry, I think in the most recent studies of epigenetics, there’s some belief now that it’s even quicker than five to seven generations. When I listen to your tapes and I see the different things that you do, it’s one thing to want to encourage people to eat for their own health, to build a defense against some of this, but think of your kids, your grandkids, your great grandkids. In the science of epigenetics, what you do now has a lasting impact…
Jerry: …on them.
Brian: …and the genes in the moment.
Bill: Well it’s…
Brian: “I’m not going to worry about my genes, that was my ancestors.” Well I’m talking about ancestors within two to five generations.
Bill: Brian, it’s like this and Jerry, it’s like this. You’re kind of instead of being pregnant, you’re saying “eating for two”. It’s like, “No, I’m eating for thousands now”, right, because you’re passing on things in so many different ways. The point that Jerry’s making is so profound. Jerry, don’t you think these kids ought to be eating better if they’re going to be paying all of our healthcare bills? I mean, I want them strong and healthy because they’re going to have to be working 16 hours a day to pay for the baby boomers and here they are eating more junk food than Brian or you and I ate.
Jerry: Well, yes, and the baby boomers are going to bankrupt it anyway because the reality is you can’t fix what’s broken or with pharmaceutical patents. You can’t do it. It’s impossible to try to manage, because it’s too expensive for one thing, and it doesn’t really cure anybody. All it does is manage the illness itself. Some things in acute medicine are certainly very relevant, but somebody who’s got diabetes, now we have a leg amputation, now they’re on kidney dialysis. That’s not curing that person. That’s just managing the illness in a very costly way. So multiply that by millions of people and we’re out of money. There’s no way even people that are going to work 16 hours a day, the generation behind us are going to be able to afford that, because it’s so expensive to deal with healthcare and heroic medicine sort of way. It’s just not sustainable and it’s not going to last. I give it about another ten years, frankly, before the whole thing goes kaput.
Bill: Wow, that’s a telling indictment. Just as we run out of time here, Jerry, we were talking before we actually went on the air about how you can get a blood panel test for some of these things. Do you want to speak to that and then Brian wants to ask you about what’s on your website and so forth, what can people do. As we run out of time…
Jerry: I get an annual test every year and the things that I test myself are vitamin D levels. I want to be sure I’ve got about 50 to 60 nanograms per milliliter in my blood of vitamin D, because vitamin D is very important for the anti-inflammatory process. I test for C reactive protein. C reactive protein is an indicator of inflammation and it’s very telling. It’s a lot stronger of an indication than silly things like total cholesterol. In fact, your cholesterol levels are responsive to inflammation. Cholesterol is your friend. I know this sounds like heresy, but there reality is you better hope that your cholesterol levels go up if you have a lot of inflammation because it is a powerful anti-inflammatory substance, which is why the body’s making it. That’s a whole other lecture.
Then you look at things like homocysteine, which is oftentimes related to a deficiency of B complex, methylating substances like folic acid, B-12 and B-6. Oftentimes those are the deficiencies in people with high homocysteine levels, and where do you get most of those? Vegetables, greens, is where you get a lot of those methylating B complex substances that prevent homocysteine levels from rising. Fibrinogen, which is basically the blood clotting element is measured. People who have thick blood oftentimes again don’t eat a lot of the fruits and vegetables and pastured meats and eggs and fishes, good fishes, like salmon, that they need for the Omega-3’s. A lot of Omega 3’s in fruits and vegetables, a long chain of Omega 3’s are in animal products. There’s a variety of things that you can test for that will give you an indication. Interleukins, you can test for a family of interleukins that are pro-inflammatory.
You can also do blood tests to get the ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3 in the blood itself. That will tell you whether or not you have an imbalance of Omega 6 to Omega 3. All of those things will tell you whether or not you’re headed for a crash relative to inflammatory processes. The reality is if you’re inflammatory markers are high and your cholesterol levels are low, you’re in trouble. If your cholesterol levels are high and your inflammatory markers are low, you’re safe. That’s a rule of thumb.
Bill: Wow, so these are things that your doctor, and everybody needs to understand that your doctor’s probably not going to say, “Test for this”, but these are the things that Jerry listed that you need to say to your doctor, “I’d like these tests done.” Have that information. There’s nothing like, and I’m sure Jerry, when you were going through your cancer process, you were looking at numbers. It is a numbers game, just like what you just said. If your cholesterol is down and some of these other things are way through the roof, it’s just a ticking time bomb. Why wait? Why not get the numbers now and have a point A from which to sail from and then you can say, “Look, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to change my world, going to change my diet. This year I’m going to start eating greens. I’m going to start eating all these things we discussed today.” Jerry, thanks so much for the information. Brian, do you want to chat a little bit about Jerry’s website?
Brian: Jerry, I’m going to send them to a couple of different website, if that’s cool with you, because I like all these CD sets that you have on acresusa.com. You can type in Jerry’s name to find and it’ll bring you right to a really huge library of information, Jerry, that you’ve put out in CD form that I think everybody needs to know, and of course, agri-dynamics.com. It’s got everything else that you’re doing, your bio, and some great health and education tips as well. Is there anything that I’ve forgotten, my friend?
Jerry: You got it. That’s it. That’s a good start.
Brian: Very cool. Well, Jerry, we thank you again as always. You’re such a wealth of information. A lot of times we interview guests and I’ve got a pen and notebook and I’m trying to copy down. When you’re on, I’ve got my Word document open on my laptop, so I can just keep tying away and then loading it into Google as soon as we’re done. So, thank you so very much for your time.
Jerry: Yes, appreciate the work that you’re doing. Keep up the good work.
Brian: Thanks, Jerry.
Bill: Thanks, Jerry. Take care.
Jerry: Have a good day. Bye, bye.
Brian: All right, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you so much the combined hour for hanging out with us here at Off the Grid News, the radio version of offthegridnews.com. Brian Brawdy, as always with Mr. Bill Heid. Thanks so much for your time.