The Story of How an Unlikely Group of Radical Innovators is Trying to Transform our Health Care System
Smart metrics, slow thinking, off-label drugs, and a “Moneyball” prescription for fixing modern medicine
The United States is fast becoming the sickest nation in the Western world. Cancer rates continue to rise. There is an epidemic of chronic disease in children. Even with all the money and modern innovations in science, the country’s health care system is beyond broken. Clearly there is a glitch in the system. But what if the solution has been here all along, and we’ve just been too blind to see it?
In Curable journalist and health care advocate Travis Christofferson looks at medicine through a magnifying glass and asks an important question: What if the roots of the current US health care crisis are psychological and systemic, perpetuated not just by corporate influence and the powers that be, but by you and me? It is now known that human perception is based on deeply entrenched patterns of irrational thought, which we attach ourselves to religiously. So how does this implicate the very scientific research and data that doctors rely on to successfully treat their patients?
A page-turning inquiry into a “moneyball approach to medicine,” Curable explores the links between revolutionary baseball analytics; Nobel Prize–winning psychological research on confirmation bias; wildly successful maverick economic philosophy; the history of the radical mastectomy and the rise of the clinical trial; cutting edge treatments routinely overlooked by regulatory bodies; and outdated medical models that prioritize profit over prevention. As stark as things are, Christofferson asks us to see health care not as a toppling house of cards, but as a badly organized system that is inherently fixable. How do we fix it? First we must reframe the conflict between doctors’ intuition and statistical data. Then we must design better systems that can support doctors who are increasingly overwhelmed with the complexity of modern medicine.
Curable outlines the future of medicine, detailing brilliant examples of new health care systems that prove we can do better. It turns out we have more control over our health (and happiness) than we think.
Cancer and the New Biology of Water
A groundbreaking look at the role of water in living organisms that ultimately brings us closer to answering the riddle of the etiology of, and therapy and treatment for, cancer
When President Nixon launched the War on Cancer with the signing of the National Cancer Act of 1971 and the allocation of billions of research dollars, it was amidst a flurry of promises that a cure was within reach. The research establishment was trumpeting the discovery of oncogenes, the genes that supposedly cause cancer. As soon as we identified them and treated cancer patients accordingly, cancer would become a thing of the past.
Fifty years later it’s clear that the War on Cancer has failed—despite what the cancer industry wants us to believe. New diagnoses have continued to climb; one in three people in the United States can now expect to battle cancer during their lifetime. For the majority of common cancers, the search for oncogenes has not changed the treatment: We’re still treating with the same old triad of removing (surgery), burning out (radiation), or poisoning (chemotherapy).
In Cancer and the New Biology of Water, Thomas Cowan, MD, argues that this failure was inevitable because the oncogene theory is incorrect—or at least incomplete—and based on a flawed concept of biology in which DNA controls our cellular function and therefore our health. Instead, Dr. Cowan tells us, the somatic mutations seen in cancer cells are the result of a cellular deterioration that has little to do with oncogenes, DNA, or even the nucleus. The root cause is metabolic dysfunction that deteriorates the structured water that forms the basis of cytoplasmic—and therefore, cellular—health.
Despite mainstream medicine’s failure to bring an end to suffering or deliver on its promises, it remains illegal for physicians to prescribe anything other than the “standard of care” for their cancer patients—no matter how dangerous and ineffective that standard may be—and despite the fact that gentler, more effective, and more promising treatments exist. While Dr. Cowan acknowledges that all of these treatments need more research, Cancer and the New Biology of Water is an impassioned plea from a long-time physician that these promising treatments merit our attention and research dollars and that patients have the right to information, options, and medical freedom in matters of their own life and death.
Farming on the Wild Side
The Evolution of a Regenerative Organic Farm and Nursery
One farm’s decades-long journey into regenerative agriculture—and how these methods enhance biodiversity, pollinators, and soil health
Northern Vermont’s Nancy and John Hayden have spent the last 25 years transforming their draft horse–powered, organic vegetable and livestock operation into an agroecological, regenerative, biodiverse, organic fruit farm, fruit nursery, and pollinator sanctuary. In Farming on the Wild Side they explain the philosophical and scientific principles that influenced them as they phased out sheep and potatoes and embraced apples, pears, stone fruits, and a wide variety of uncommon berry crops; turned much of their property into a semi-wild state; and adapted their marketing and sales strategies to the new century. As the Haydens pursued their goals of enhancing biodiversity and regenerating their land, they incorporated agroforestry and permaculture principles into perennial fruit polycultures, a pollinator sanctuary, repurposed greenhouses for growing fruit, hügelkultur, and ecological “pest” management. Beyond the practical techniques and tips, this book also inspires readers to develop greater ecological literacy and respect for the mysteries of the global ecosystem. Farming on the Wild Side tells a story about new ways to manage small farms and homesteads, about nurturing land, about ecology, about economics, and about things that we can all do to heal both the land and ourselves.
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1
Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life and Landscape, 3rd Edition
Turn water scarcity into water abundance! Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 3rd Edition is the best-selling, award-winning guide on how to conceptualize, design, and implement life-enhancing water-, sun-, wind-, and shade-harvesting systems for your home, landscape, and community. This book enables you to assess your on-site resources, gives you a diverse array of strategies to maximize their potential, and empowers you with guiding principles to create an integrated, multi-functional plan specific to your site and needs.
Clearly written with more than 290 illustrations, this full-color edition helps bring your site to life, reduce your cost of living, endow yourself and your community with skills of self-reliance and cooperation, and create living air conditioners of vegetation growing beauty, food, and wildlife habitat. Stories of people who are successfully welcoming rain into their life and landscape will invite you to do the same.
Dancing with Bees
A Journey Back to Nature
A naturalist’s passionate dive into the world of bees of all stripes–what she has learned about them, and what we can learn from them
Brigit Strawbridge Howard was shocked the day she realised she knew more about the French Revolution than she did about her native trees. And birds. And wildflowers. And bees. The thought stopped her—quite literally—in her tracks. But that day was also the start of a journey, one filled with silver birches and hairy-footed flower bees, skylarks, and rosebay willow herb, and the joy that comes with deepening one’s relationship with place. Dancing with Bees is Strawbridge Howard’s charming and eloquent account of a return to noticing, to rediscovering a perspective on the world that had somehow been lost to her for decades and to reconnecting with the natural world. With special care and attention to the plight of pollinators, including honeybees, bumblebees, and solitary bees, and what we can do to help them, Strawbridge Howard shares fascinating details of the lives of flora and fauna that have filled her days with ever-increasing wonder and delight.
Shut It Down
Stories from a Fierce, Loving Resistance
A veteran activist’s guide to direct action and strategic civil disobedience as the most radical and rapid means to social change
For decades, Lisa Fithian’s work as an advocate for civil disobedience and nonviolent direct action has put her on the frontlines of change. Described by Mother Jones as “the nation’s best-known protest consultant,” Fithian has supported countless movements including the Battle of Seattle in 1999, rebuilding and defending communities following Hurricane Katrina, Occupy Wall Street, and the uprisings at Standing Rock and in Ferguson. For anyone who wants to become more active in resistance or is just feeling overwhelmed or hopeless, Shut It Down offers strategies and actions you can take right now to promote justice and incite change in your own community.
In Shut It Down Fithian shares historic, behind-the-scenes stories from some of the most important people-powered movements of the past several decades. She shows how movements that embrace direct action have always been, and continue to be, the most radical and rapid means for transforming the ills of our society. Shut It Down is filled with instructions and inspiration for how movements can evolve as the struggle for social justice continues in the Trump era and beyond.
While recognizing that electoral politics, legislation, and policy are all important pathways to change, Shut It Down argues that civil disobedience is not just one of the only actions that remains when all else fails, but a spiritual pursuit that protects our deepest selves and allows us to reclaim our humanity. Change can come, but only if we’re open to creatively, lovingly, and strategically standing up, sometimes at great risk to ourselves, to protect what we love.
For the Love of Paw Paws
A Mini Manual for Growing and Caring for Paw Paws–From Seed to Table
How to cultivate, harvest, and utilize North America’s largest native fruit
It is hard to eat more than one pawpaw at a go. The creamy rich pulp with tropical flavors ranging from mango and pineapple to banana combine like a satisfying dessert.
The pawpaw, a close relative of the tropical custard apple, grows throughout much of North America yet culturally and horticulturally we know very little about it.
This mini manual by edible landscape author Michael Judd jumps right into growing, caring for, harvesting, and using pawpaws – from seed to table. Judd demystifies fruit growing in direct, easy to follow steps that quickly brings confidence to the newbie grower while expanding the horizons of curious gardeners.
Historically most people have only experienced foraged pawpaw fruit, which can be a hit or miss game for a good experience. That is quickly changing as selected and bred cultivars are being grown and shared. Judd’s pawpaw manual gets you started right away with the best selections and approaches.
Filled with straightforward how-to, colorful pictures and illustrations For the Love of Pawpaws brings to life easy and successful ways to enjoy the best pawpaws have to offer.
- Where Can I Grow Pawpaws?
- Buying a Good Pawpaw Tree
- Growing Pawpaws from Seed & Grafting
- Landscaping Ideas
- Ecological Tree Care
- Harvest: Fruit Handling & Processing
- What to Do with All this Fruit! Recipes
- Pawpaws & Permaculture
Discover the many reasons pawpaws are edible landscape and culinary all-stars!
For the Love of Pawpaws will take you on an adventure that culminates in one of life’s most rewarding experiences. A delicious opportunity to enjoy organic gardening and gourmet food at it best.
Medical Myopia & the Hidden Global Pandemic
A Patient’s Guide to Navigating the Labyrinth of Diagnosis and Treatment
What if, at this very moment, hundreds of thousands of people were unaware that they were living in midst of an epidemic so large that it dwarfs the AIDS epidemic by sheer numbers in North America?
What if this epidemic cut across all populations: women and men, children and adults, the infirm and the fit, the very poor and the very rich?
And what if many of our best doctors in cities like New York, London, Paris, Dublin, Sydney and San Francisco were unaware of this very same problem?
This epidemic is upon us. It lurks in the most seductive of locations outside our cities – sought after vacation places frequented by urban dwellers. These are the favorite getaway spots for the often millions of people who work in our city centers, many of whom are unaware that they are at risk of infection from this insidious microbe.
The epidemic in question is a tick-borne disease, namely the spirochete bacterium Borrelia burdorferi, or Lyme disease, as it is more commonly known. Along with a number of other co-infection pathogens, including deadly viruses, this bacterium has become the scourge of the Northern Hemisphere and is now spreading into Asia and even Australia.
In this book, Dr. Bernard Raxlen attempts to answer many of those questions through the perspectives of patients and physicians from around the world, exploring the reasons for the medical myopia that blocks accurate diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne disease. He draws on his thirty years in the field and more than forty thousand clinical hours listening to and treating TBD patients and also invites other expert physicians in TBD from around the world to share their experiences and expertise. His recovered former patient, co-collaborator and Lyme advocate, Allie Cashel, author of Suffering the Silence: Chronic Lyme Disease in an Age of Denial, contributes a section of the book, illuminating life after TBD and the difficulties encountered in the post-Lyme world.
Also includes contributions from international authorities Dr. Laura Alonso Canal (Spain), Dr. Jennifer Armstrong (Canada), Michael Cook (UK), Doug Fearn (US), Dr. John Lambert (Ireland), Jenna Luché-Thayer (United Nations), Dr. Mualla McManus (Australia), Zhaneta Misho (Germany), Dr. Omar Morales (Mexico), Dr. Christian Perrone (France), and Dr. Armin Schwarzbach (Germany); with illustrations by Rolo Ledesma.
Compost Teas for the Organic Grower
Everything you need to know about feeding your garden, orchard, or smallholding with homemade and chemical-free “teas”—packed with recipes for creating nutrient-rich, healthy soil, to give you healthy plants and ecosystems
Permaculture orchardist Eric Fisher provides an in depth history of organic agriculture and the rise in chemical inputs. He then goes on to explore the importance of nutrients, their cycles and the structure of soil. This enables the reader to truly understand their soil and own ecosystem, so they can manage it properly.
Once we understand how soil and nutrients work, it is easier to diagnose problems and find a natural remedy. Eric provides recipes for a wide range of compost teas that can remedy many different deficits, as well as for natural pesticides and insecticides. Eric shows the reader how to use the plants growing around them to create these “teas,” using aerobic and anaerobic processes, as well as how to grow specific plants to encourage beneficial insects for healthy ecosystems.
Eric’s aim is for growers to feel confident in diagnosing plant disease and pest problems, and then be able to create the right remedy for the problem. If we can care for the health of our plants and soil without using chemicals, we can save money, encourage others to do the same, and demonstrate that conventional chemical inputs are not necessary.
Farm to Fork Meat Riot
Regenerating Life Giving Force
You are about to delve into the subject of lifestyle and nutrition from a different perspective, perhaps, than you have previously considered. Until our daughter Meenakshi was diagnosed with cancer, we were conventional food eaters. Frankly, if I had not had to seek life force in the most nutrient dense foods available to save my daughter’s life, I would be at the grocery store buying the same blank, dead, carcinogenic food like substances I was buying before.
This book is about truth. FOOD can shape or destroy an entire civilization. We are capable of regenerating cells to heal our bodies when given the correct unadulterated nutrients to support the cells.
We need to do everything we can to expand living soils since it is the root of our wellness. Regenerating soil is the basis of food freedom; the result of this practice is health independence – the purpose of this system/cycle is to balance the eco-system, which will stabilize the climate and overall well-being of all life on earth.
Although this book will guide you to a deeper and more practical understanding of what a regenerative lifestyle looks and feels like, my intention is to give you a more conscious awareness of the potential depth and breadth of the power each of you has to influence.
I am the catalyst to reestablish the regenerative small family farm food system in America so we can stop the browning of the earth and restore life giving force back into the soil. Our family committed our lives to healing ourselves, healing our land, and healing others. What will your choice be? #GetOutOfTheGroceryStore
How to Grow Herbs, Flowers, Vegetables and Fruit in Any Space
Learn how to create your own no-dig, organic garden with permaculture design and techniques. Vera’s 15 years of experience as a no dig gardener provides a vast amount of knowledge on growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers. The book is divided into two sections, container gardening and permaculture kitchen gardening. Part One shares knowledge especially useful to urban gardeners and those with little space. Part Two advises on starting and maintaining a garden. Vera’s specialty is creating beautiful and delicious polycultures and she offers a range of examples to get you started and the knowledge to experiment. She also includes recipes for your fresh harvests. Chapters on making compost, building raised beds, and a monthly job guide make this useful for all levels of gardener.
Vera demonstrates that gardens can look beautiful and be productive, and her advice and examples encourage us to look at our own growing spaces in a different light. We no longer need to hide our veggie patches; they can take centre stage. Why not incorporate cut flowers with herbs, brassicas and peas? Or plant a pottager garden? These examples will help people create edible paradises everywhere, like patios, balconies, windowsills, allotments, community and school gardens, front and back gardens and anywhere else we can grow.
Walking with Trees
In Walking with Trees, Glennie Kindred takes us on an intimate and profoundly connecting walk with thirteen of our native trees. She leads us into their worlds and opens our hearts to their wonders, their qualities and their potential to heal. This is a book about relationships and inter-relationships: our relationship with the trees, their relationships with each other and with the natural world around them, and the flow of our communal relationship, past and present, which affects us all as the web of life on Earth.
Glennie’s passion for trees is infectious, and inspires us to look more closely, listen more intently and walk with trees more often. She shares her stories and encounters with trees and weaves together many ways to deepen our engagement with them, from growing them, harvesting and using them for medicine, food, and craftwork. She also encourages us to find our way into a more subtle and intuitive relationship with the trees, as part of our journey to heal our fractured relationship with the Earth.
As with all of Glennie’s books, the seasonal cycles and the Earth festivals are interwoven and provide further ways to deepen our journey with trees. This is a book about possibilities, for those who care for our environment. This is a book that reminds you of what you might have missed or forgotten, and reminds you of your power. This is a book of our time, where we recognise our deep interconnectivity with the trees, with all of life and with the Earth herself. It inspires us to open our arms and hearts wide, and joyfully embrace the changes. Illustrated with the author’s exquisite pencil drawings.
Happy Pigs Taste Better
A Complete Guide to Organic and Humane Pasture-Based Pork Production
What does it take to raise a happy pig? Armed with experience from running the largest organic hog operation in Maine, author Alice Percy is well equipped to answer this question.
Pigs are much closer to their cousin, the wild boar, than other domesticated animals. Ethically managing pigs requires an understanding of their natural mannerisms, including factors such as social grouping, mating, territory, housing, and, of course, their love of wallowing in the mud.
In Happy Pigs Taste Better Percy offers a comprehensive look at raising organic, pasture-fed, gourmet meat. She advises readers on pasturing and feeding hogs organically, as well as managing the breeding herd and administering effective natural healthcare. In addition, she provides an overview of marketing and distribution for those looking to turn their hog farming operation into a lucrative business.
This book is the first of its kind to offer an in-depth approach to organic, high-welfare commercial production, including information on:
– Designing a hog business from the ground up
– Housing pigs, including benefits and drawbacks of various housing systems
– Evaluating the nutritional content of common organic feedstuffs
– Butchering humanely and economically
– Recordkeeping, with templates for financial tracking
Whether you’re looking to convert a conventional operation to organic, grow your backyard hog operation into a viable business, or start from scratch, this comprehensive book has got you covered, nose to tail.
Wild Apples, Real Cider, and the Complicated Art of Making a Living
Today, food is being reconsidered. It’s a front-and-center topic in everything from politics to art, from science to economics. We know now that leaving food to government and industry specialists was one of the twentieth century’s greatest mistakes. The question is where do we go from here.
Author Andy Brennan describes uncultivation as a process: It involves exploring the wild; recognizing that much of nature is omitted from our conventional ways of seeing and doing things (our cultivations); and realizing the advantages to embracing what we’ve somehow forgotten or ignored. For most of us this process can be difficult, like swimming against the strong current of our modern culture.
The hero of this book is the wild apple. Uncultivated follows Brennan’s twenty-four-year history with naturalized trees and shows how they have guided him toward successes in agriculture, in the art of cider making, and in creating a small-farm business. The book contains useful information relevant to those particular fields, but is designed to connect the wild to a far greater audience, skillfully blending cultural criticism with a food activist’s agenda.
Apples rank among the most manipulated crops in the world, because not only do farmers want perfect fruit, they also assume the health of the tree depends on human intervention. Yet wild trees live all around us, and left to their own devices, they achieve different forms of success that modernity fails to apprehend. Andy Brennan learned of the health and taste advantages of such trees, and by emulating nature in his orchard (and in his cider) he has also enjoyed environmental and financial benefits. None of this would be possible by following today’s prevailing winds of apple cultivation.
In all fields, our cultural perspective is limited by a parallel proclivity. It’s not just agriculture: we all must fight tendencies toward specialization, efficiency, linear thought, and predetermined growth. We have cultivated those tendencies at the exclusion of nature’s full range. If Uncultivated is about faith in nature, and the power it has to deliver us from our own mistakes, then wild apple trees have already shown us the way.
The Whole Okra
A Seed to Stem Celebration
With recipes for gumbos and stews, plus okra pickles, tofu, marshmallow, paper, and more
Chris Smith’s first encounter with okra was of the worst kind: slimy fried okra at a greasy-spoon diner. Despite that dismal introduction, Smith developed a fascination with okra, and as he researched the plant and began to experiment with it in his own kitchen, he discovered an amazing range of delicious ways to cook and eat it, along with ingenious and surprising ways to process the plant from tip-to-tail: pods, leaves, flowers, seeds, and stalks. Smith talked okra with chefs, food historians, university researchers, farmers, homesteaders, and gardeners. The summation of his experimentation and research comes together in The Whole Okra, a lighthearted but information-rich collection of okra history, lore, recipes, craft projects, growing advice, and more.
The Whole Okra includes classic recipes such as fried okra pods as well as unexpected delights including okra seed pancakes and okra flower vodka. Some of the South’s best-known chefs shared okra recipes with Smith: Okra Soup by culinary historian Michael Twitty, Limpin’ Susan by chef BJ Dennis, Bhindi Masala by chef Meherwan Irani, and Okra Fries by chef Vivian Howard.
Okra has practical uses beyond the edible, and Smith also researched the history of okra as a fiber crop for making paper and the uses of okra mucilage (slime) as a preservative, a hydrating face mask, and a primary ingredient in herbalist Katrina Blair’s recipe for Okra Marshmallow Delight.
The Whole Okra is foremost a foodie’s book, but Smith also provides practical tips and techniques for home and market gardeners. He gives directions for saving seed for replanting, for a breeding project, or for a stockpile of seed for making okra oil, okra flour, okra tempeh, and more. Smith has grown over 75 varieties of okra, and he describes the nuanced differences in flavor, texture, and color; the best-tasting varieties; and his personal favorites. Smith’s wry humor and seed-to-stem enthusiasm for his subject infuse every chapter with just the right mix of fabulous recipes and culinary tips, unique projects, and fun facts about this vagabond vegetable with enormous potential.
Carving Out a Living on the Land
Lessons in Resourcefulness and Craft from an Unusual Christmas Tree Farm
When he first envisioned becoming a farmer, author Emmet Van Driesche never imagined his main crop would be Christmas trees, nor that such a tree farm could be more of a managed forest than the conventional grid of perfectly sheared trees. Carving Out a Living on the Land tells the story of how Van Driesche navigated changing life circumstances, took advantage of unexpected opportunities, and leveraged new and old skills to piece together an economically viable living, while at the same time respecting the land’s complex ecological relationships.
From spoon carving to scything, coppicing to wreath-making, Carving Out a Living on the Land proves that you don’t need acres of expensive bottomland to start your land-based venture, but rather the creativity and vision to see what might be done with that rocky section or ditch or patch of trees too small to log. You can lease instead of buy; build flexible, temporary structures rather than sink money into permanent ones; and take over an existing operation rather than start from scratch. What matters are your unique circumstances, talents, and interests, which when combined with what the land is capable of producing, can create a fulfilling and meaningful farming life.