There was a time when an order from an authority figure meant you better take the recommended action or else there would be consequences.

But times have changed, and respect for parents, teachers, and other authority figures has nearly disappeared. Everything is questioned and doubted. Consequently, education is on a downward spiral and continues along that slippery slope because the cornerstone of authority, trust, is gone.

Oddly enough, that precious commodity we call trust pops up in the least likely places and among people of questionable abilities. In other words, the snake oil salesmen of the modern era known as influencers think their opinions are at a higher level than those with actual knowledge. Or even common sense.

You would think a plump-lipped, wide-eyed diva spewing her vacuous thoughts on social media would be laughed at rather than followed. But then, the followers are just as empty-headed as the influencers. Please remember, influencers make money off all the rubes who buy something advertised on such sites.

We should not be surprised by the funds spent on diets, diet pills, vitamins, foods supposed to be healthy, spices with health benefits, and even herbal concoctions.

Let’s consider spices. Spices not only enhance the flavor of our foods, but many have health benefits as well. Cinnamon adds flavor and aroma to our food and helps lower blood sugar. Ginger relieves nausea. Garlic boosts heart health and gives you bad breath, which helps deter overly aggressive would-be lovers. Cayenne eases pain while causing a different kind of pain in your mouth and stomach, and then later down south as well. Turmeric fights inflammation. If you take too much, your pores will ooze with the scent of curry.

Before Big Pharma took over, making our medicines, herbs and spices were the earliest forms of medical care available. Unfortunately, people who helped heal the sick were often deemed witches and killed as thanks for their help.

The chemical witch doctors create medicine that often cures one disease while causing something worse. If the conspiracy theories are even partially true, then the supposed cure factories also withhold cures because there is more profit in treatments than cures.

Life becomes even more confusing for those seeking to live long and healthy lives using herbs and spices. Over thirty-eight herbs adversely interact with prescribed medicines, such as warfarin (a blood thinner).

Although most of them are safe taken alone but combined with the blood thinner, cannabis, chamomile, cranberry, garlic, grapefruit, ginkgo, and St. John’s wort, to name a few, can cause severe interaction.

If you enjoy licorice, not only does it taste yummy, it helps with digestive issues, menopausal symptoms, and even kidney and lung diseases. However, it adversely affects male performance — what a downer.

Most folks peddling foods and items related to health have a nefarious side. Fear is the common denominator. Fear of death. Fear of various and all illnesses. Take this pill, and you will not get Alzheimer’s. Take this herbal supplement, and you will cure your diabetes. The list goes on.

For example, although fish is supposed to be a healthy alternative to red meat, the fear of mercury poisoning hovers in the background.

Organic and other foods labeled as healthy also ensnare the unsuspecting buyer.

The flavor of kale is unpleasant enough to make chicken sound good to your humble writer. The wisenheimers consider kale a healthy food. And, yet a recent article stated that the kale we buy in the store had lost most of the nutrients that make it worth shoving down our throats. It is not only unpalatable but is not as healthy as we thought.

Some foods are not only good for you but stick to your ribs. For example, oatmeal is a heart-healthy food. But if the bowl is not rinsed immediately after use, the remainder of that healthy breakfast turns to concrete, requiring a chisel and hammer to scrape the dish clean.

Imagine statues sculpted from cooked oatmeal that stand the test of time. Autopsies reveal the lining of stomachs and intestines coated with oatmeal — A Great Wall of Oatmeal. Yet, the oatmeal consumer is still dead.

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