Addiction Sameness

Alcohol, Opiates, Fat and Sugar are all Addictive Substances: this blog is about that "addiction sameness".

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

International Vegetarian Union

International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo
North America: early 20th Century
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

IVU on Facebook:

Physicist, Nobel Prize winner 1921
The latest indications we have suggest that Einstein was vegetarian only for the last year or so of his life, though he appears to have supported the idea for many years before practising it himself.
"So I am living without fats, without meat, without fish, but am feeling quite well this way. It always seems to me that man was not born to be a carnivore."
This was from a letter written to Hans Muehsam, and dated March 30, 1954, which was about 1 year before Einstein died. This indicates he adopted a vegetarian diet at the end of his life. Previously, on August3, 1953 Einstein had written the following in a letter to Max Kariel, suggesting that he was still eating meat at that time:
"I have always eaten animal flesh with a somewhat guilty conscience." 
- Einstein Archive 60-058
The above quotes are from: The Expanded Quotable Einstein, collected and edited by Alice Calaprice. The book flap of Ms. Calaprice's book says: "Alice Calaprice is a Senior Editor at Princeton University Press, where she has specialized in the sciences and worked with the Einstein Papers for over twenty years."

The following quote originated from Ms. Joan Gilbert (USA) who provided it to Jon Wynne-Tyson (UK) for his book, THE EXTENDED CIRCLE, published in 1985.
It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind. - Letter to 'Vegetarian Watch-Tower', 27 December 1930
David Hurwitz, who contributed the quotes at the top of this page, has added the following:
Alice Calaprice, has released the latest edition of her collected and edited quotes by Albert Einstein entitled, "The New Quotable Einstein." Now there is a solid source for the quote, complete with a document number in the Einstein Archive.
"Although I have been prevented by outward circumstances from observing a strictly vegetarian diet, I have long been an adherent to the cause in principle. Besides agreeing with the aims of vegetarianism for aesthetic and moral reasons, it is my view that a vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind." Translation of letter to Hermann Huth, December 27, 1930. Einstein Archive 46-756
A biography of Einstein says that he was still living in Germany in 1930, only emigrating to the USA in 1932. It also says that he suffered a health breakdown in the late 1920s which would be consistent with giving some thought to his diet, but we have no indications that he actually became vegetarian himself at this time.
Between 1882 and 1935 the Deutscher Vegetarier-Bund (German Vegetarian Federation) publishedVegetarische Warte. The picture on the right is the cover of the December 15, 1898 issue. An English/German dictionary translates 'Warte' as: observation point, viewpoint, control room - it seems likely that this is the 'Vegetarian Watch-Tower' (a slightly odd translation but quite possible).
The date of the letter and that given to the magazine are identical - December 27, which could suggest that the attribution to a magazine was mistaken as it would have appeared some time later than the letter. It seems likely that the magazine printed the date of the letter and that got confused, with the date of the later magazine.
Hildegund Scholvien, of the Vegetarier-Bund Deutschlands (re-formed in 1945), has most of the old issues of theVegetarische Warte. She sent the following comments:
I tried to find that Einstein quotation in the "Vegetarische Warte", issue 12, Dez. 1930, but I could not find it. However I do not have the original magazine, only copies of the articles. The pages are complete, 365-392, only the cover is missing. Maybe the quotation, due to its importance, was on the front cover.
At that time the president of the Vegetarier-Bund Dr. Gustav Schl├Ąger und Mr. Friedrich Schulenburg were editors of the "Vegetarische Warte". Mr. Hermann Huth was vice-president of the society.
However: Dr. Schl├Ąger was ill and died at the end of November 1930. Therefore it might be possible that Hermann Huth (as vice president) was the editor of this special issue. In December 1930 a new board of the Vegetarier-Bund was elected, and Dr. Bruno Wolff was elected president and editor, Mr. Hermann Huth vice president again.
Unfortunately I don't have issue no. 1 of 1931, so I can't check, whether the quotation could be in that issue.

These quotes give some insight into other aspects of Einstein's thinking:
"What is the meaning of human life, or, for that matter, of the life of any creature? To know an answer to this question means to be religious. You ask: Does it make any sense, then, to pose this question? I answer: The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life." - Mein Weltbild, Amsterdam: Querido Verlag, 1934.
A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the 'Universe', a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security. - New York Post, 28 November 1972
The following quotes are completely unverified, information about the sources of any of them would also be useful:
"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." (this looks like a bad translation from German of the one above, we can find no other source for it...)
"Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from that of their social environment. "
"It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man.""The important thing is not to stop questioning."

"Only a life lived for others is a life worth living!"


The Future of Medicine

Thursday April 16, 2015
The 2014 BBC Reith Lectures -
The Future of Medicine, Part 1

Dr. Atul Gawande (Tim Llewellyn)


**Originally aired on January 26, 2015.

Surgeon, professor and author Atul Gawande dissects a field defined by what he calls "the messy intersection of science and human fallibility."

In hour one, Why Do Doctors Fail? about imperfection in medicine, andThe Century of the System about the dominance of treatment systems. In hour two, The Problem of Hubris about the limits of what professionals can do, and The Idea of Well-being, about shifting focus from medical survival to general well-being. Part 2 airs on Thursday, April 23

"We have 13 different organ systems and at the latest count we've identified more than 60,000 ways that they can go awry. The body is scarily intricate, unfathomable, hard to read. We are these hidden beings inside this fleshy sack of skin and we've spent thousands of years trying to understand what's been going on inside. So the story of medicine to me is the story of how we deal with the incompleteness of our knowledge and the fallibility of our skills."

- Dr. Atul Gawande

Dr. Gawande practices general and endocrine surgery in Boston. That's when he's not teaching at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Medical School. Or writing books. Or conducting research or analyzing health policy, or lecturing. In this talk, he's putting medicine itself on the operating table, to see how it works, and how it might work better.

Dr. Atul Gawande delivered the prestigious BBC Reith Lectures in the fall of 2014. In this episode, we present Atul Gawande's first two lectures about The Future of Medicine. Dr. Gawande delivered the first one at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. His second lecture was delivered at the Wellcome Collection in London.

It's named after the medical pioneer Sir Henry Wellcome.

Related Websites:

The BBC Reith Lectures

Dr. Atul Gawande's website

Dr. Atul Gwanade's TED Talk - How do we heal medicine?

Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Surprising Things That Can Damage Your Liver


Too much sugar isn’t just bad for your teeth. It can harm your liver, too. The organ uses one type of sugar, called fructose, to create fat. Too much refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup cause a fatty buildup that can lead to liver disease. Some studies show that sugar can be as damaging to the liver as alcohol, even if you’re not overweight. One more reason to limit foods with added sugars, like soda, pastries, and candy.

MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

MSG enhances the flavor of many packaged and prepared foods, from chips to diet drinks. (You might see it on a food label as “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” “yeast extract,” or “soy extract.”) Still, some studies of animals suggest that the chemical may make the liver fatty and inflamed, which can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and liver cancer. Scientists need more research to know if MSG affects humans the same way.


Comfrey is a shrub found in Europe and Asia. Its leaves have a chemical that reduces swelling and keeps skin healthy, so you can find it in some pain-relieving creams. But comfrey also has substances that harm the liver. Don’t use a product that has it for more than 10 days at a time or for more than 6 weeks total in a year. Apply only very small amounts, and never put it on broken skin.

Herbal Supplements

Just because the label says “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe. One serious danger is kava kava, an herb that can relieve menopause symptoms and help you relax. Studies show it can keep the liver from working, causing hepatitis and liver failure. Some countries have banned or restricted the herb, but it’s still available in the U.S. You should always talk to your doctor before you take any herbs to make sure they’re safe.


If you’re carrying around extra weight, fat can also build up in your liver cells, which can lead to NAFLD. It can make the liver swell. Over time, hardened scar tissue can replace healthy tissue (a condition doctors call cirrhosis). People who are overweight or obese, middle-aged, or have diabetes are at highest risk of NAFLD. There’s no cure, but eating well and exercise can sometimes reverse the disease.

Too Much Vitamin A

You can find vitamin A in eggs and milk as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those that are red, orange, and yellow. Many supplements also include it since it helps improve vision, strengthen bones, and give a boost to your immune system.  But in very high doses, vitamin A is toxic to the liver. To stay safe, never take more than 10,000 IU a day.

Unsterile Tattoos

When you get a tattoo or body piercing in a licensed, clean shop that sterilizes its equipment after each customer, the chances you’ll get a serious infection like hepatitis C are low. But if tools aren’t properly cleaned, your risk of hep C shoots up. The virus spreads through contact with the blood of an infected person and causes serious, sometimes lifelong liver illness. Check out the shop and its safety record before you get inked. 

Soft Drinks

Scientists studied the diets of a group of people with NAFLD, taking into account their weight, the amount of fat in their blood, and if they had diabetes. One thing stood out: 80% of them drank 2 or more soft drinks a day. It didn’t matter if it was calorie-free or regular soda, which means an ingredient besides sugar could play a role in the condition. There’s no hard evidence, but some researchers think artificial sweeteners might be to blame.


It’s rare, but some antidepressants can harm your liver, even if you take them for only a few days. In some cases, the damage can be deadly. Older people or anyone taking a lot of other meds are at higher risk because their liver may be damaged already. If you’re taking antidepressants, talk with your doctor to make sure you’re on the smallest dose you need. Make sure you know the symptoms of liver illness to watch for.

Trans Fats

Trans fats are a man-made fat common in packaged foods and baked goods. (You’ll see them listed in the ingredients as “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” or “vegetable shortening.”) A diet high in trans fats not only boosts your chances of gaining weight, it makes severe liver disease with scar tissue more likely. In one study, mice that ate a fast-food diet high in trans fats had liver damage after only 4 months.