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Editorial Issue 153

by Sandra Goodman PhD(more info)

listed in editorial, originally published in issue 153 - December 2008

This Dec Issue 153 of PH Online has an appropriately seasonal theme – with the nights starting to close in and, as animals, we feel like hibernating to re-charge our batteries for the coming winter.

Much is included about the power of healing – Healing Power of Music, Theta Healing – Letting Go of Limiting Beliefs, colour therapy The Prescribed Walk in the Park. Even the expert columns Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine: The Art of 'Doing Nothing' and Daoist Tips for 21st Century Living: Simplify, Simplify also have a soft theme of yielding and going with the flow.

However, it is the topic introduced by Gina Pickersgill in The Ins and Outs of Emotional Eating which has provided me with the inspiration to discuss personal insights regarding how pervasive other people's perception of my own Body Size and Shape has been throughout my life.

As a schoolgirl, larger and taller than my friends and fellow students until about age 11, I was prevented from advancing to Junior Ballet school, not by virtue of lack of ability and expertise, but because my body shape did not conform to a ballet dancer's body. Age 11 is rather young to be confronted by the cruel truth of the world, but it was a shock to learn that advancement, at least in the dance world, is not entirely by merit alone.

I stopped growing after age 11 (presumably hormonal reasons), and was short and chubby. As a high school gymnast, I excelled in gymnastics at the school level, coming first in the balance beam, the floor and in vaulting. I will never forget the time, when aged about 15-16 at a high school gymnastics competition, an accomplished Hungarian judge humiliated me in front of everyone by remarking that he couldn't understand how someone with the size of my behind could possibly vault. Again, a gratuitously rude comment which I still remember today.

Over the past few decades, we have learned how brutal gymnastics training is and can be for young girls; many of them following strict regimes which keep their weight down and even delay puberty and menstruation. Nothing is too important to advance the team!!

During my teenage years, I embarked on a strict diet while at summer camp, eschewing bread, potatoes and sweets and engaging in lots of exercise. I lost a considerable amount of weight, which all and sundry commented on favourably.

Like most adults in Canada, the USA and the UK, my weight has fluctuated between winter and summer, depending upon the types of food I have eaten. I have followed Macrobiotic, Vegetarian, Wholefood and many other regimens, sometimes rigorously, other times not, until I am following a fairly normal diet. Not super healthy, yet not unhealthy.

When I last visited by family in Canada several years ago when my father was gravely ill, I encountered one of my aunts while in a coffee shop. I hadn't seen her for least 10 years, and what was the very first thing she said to me? It was "you've put on some weight". Now I probably had put on some weight in the intervening interval; however, I thought it remarkable that of all the things that a relative could say to her niece after such a long time, commenting upon whether I had gained weight appeared to be the most important thing to say.

Even my mother commented on my weight in an unflattering way. Weight had always been an issue in my immediate family, as in many families, I suspect. But it is a comment on the shallowness of our culture that our poundage and appearance is so paramount. I am overweight, but not obese. In another culture and era, I would have been considered very shapely; but in our thin, stick-obsessed world, I don't conform.

When I die and go to heaven or the other place, is the Creator really going to judge my life according to whether I weight 10, 11 or 12 stone? Or how much money I have accumulated or debts that I owe. Our focus upon appearance seems to have supplanted what we ought to be focusing upon: our goodness or otherness, our kindness or otherwise, our generosity or otherwise.

I would also like to draw PH readers to the subversive letters to the editors in this Issue 153, which contain important information regarding the re-interpretation of Homeopathic trials and  the anti-tumour properties of Vitamin C:

The BBC recently reported(1) that "Vitamin C 'slows cancer growth.' An injection of a high dose of vitamin C may be able to hold back the advance of cancers, US scientists claim. The vitamin may start a destructive chain reaction within the cancer cell." The injection "halved the size" of tumours, and was reported in the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study authors themselves said that daily, high-dose vitamin C treatment "significantly decreased growth rates" of ovarian, pancreatic, and malignant brain tumours in mice. Such high, cancer-stopping levels of vitamin C can be "readily achieved in humans given ascorbate intravenously."(2)...

Perhaps even more important is the Letter explaining why the recent news reports about statins halving the risk of heart attacks are misleading:

Their much-publicized claim, that this statin lowers the risk of heart attack by approximately one half, is technically correct though highly misleading. The reported annual incidence of coronary events was 37 people in 10,000 (controls) and 17 people in 10,000 (treated). Similar results were reported for risk of stroke. When expressed as a proportion, a 46% improvement (17/37) sounds large. However, an improvement of 20 events (37-17) in 10,000 people known to be at risk is less impressive. Such an improvement means that 500 people (10,000/20) with this increased risk would need to take the tablet daily for a year, to prevent one person suffering an event.

The paper does not explicitly report deaths. One reason for this may be that if a person on statins suffered a heart attack, that person was about three times more likely to die than a control who was not on statins.

As I always warn, it is dangerous for your health to take at face value or believe whatever a particular medical or scientific expert espouses. There are many strands to beliefs and agendas; my understanding is that only after evaluating the evidence for yourself can you make a truly informed decision for your own health and that of your family.


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About Sandra Goodman PhD

Sandra Goodman PhD, Co-founder and Editor of Positive Health, trained as a Molecular Biology scientist in Agricultural Biotechnology in Canada and the US, focusing upon health issues since the 1980s in the UK. Author of 4 books, including Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art, Vitamin C – The Master Nutrient, Germanium: The Health and Life Enhancer and numerous articles, Dr Goodman was the lead author of the Consensus Document Nutritional and LifeStyle Guidelines for People with Cancer and compiled the Cancer and Nutrition Database for the Bristol Cancer Help Centre in 1993. Dr Goodman is passionate about making available to all people, particularly those with cancer, clinical expertise in Nutrition and Complementary Therapies. Dr Goodman was recently featured as Doctor of the Fortnight in ThinkWellness360.

Dr Goodman and long-term partner Mike Howell seek individuals with vision, resources, and organization to continue and expand the Positive Health PH Online legacy beyond the first 30 years, with facilities for training, to fund alternative cancer research, and promote holistic organizations internationally. Read about Dr Goodman and purchase Nutrition and Cancer: State-of-the-Art.  She may be contacted privately for Research, Lectures and Editorial services via:   and

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