Soil and your health
When you begin to look at soils, you are immediately struck by the first rule of ecology whereby, everything is connected to everything else. A small change in one factor can cascade into a myriad different ways. It’s the butterfly effect, whereby a butterfly flapping its wings in your veggie garden can trigger a hurricane tens of thousands of kilometres away. That may strain the imagination, but it gives an idea as to what we are dealing with here. It’s estimated that beneath our feet, 20% of the planet's life forms are still waiting to be discovered.
When it comes to our health, throughout history, there have been those who have made the observation of how human health is linked to the health of the soil.
Hippocrates with his “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” was on the right track. Around the end of the 19th century Justus von Leibig thought all we needed to grow a crop was nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). His observation were set upon by the German barons of industry who propelled the idea with such vigour and persuasiveness that these practices dominate the minds of conventional, chemical based farming to this very day. Counter posing von Leibig was a peer, Julius Hensel who made the astute observation that ground igneous granite rock from his mill stones could grow healthy plants. Hensel and his ideas, which were the cornerstone of organic, natural farming, was crucified by those with money to make with the NPK simplicity offered by von Leibig. Hensel’s famous book “Bread from Stones” is worth a read and can be found here. After only ten years von Leibig realized the error of his analysis but the damage was done, the wheels of NPK fertilization were turning with such momentum they could not be stopped, nor even turned.
In the intervening years, there have been publications such as Andre Voison’s, Soil, Grass and Cancer which linked the lack of minerals in the soil with declining animal health. this he linked to the declining status of human health.
The father of biodynamics, Dr Rudolf Steiner in 1924, noted the serious decline in soil fertility and how that was impacting on human and animal health and consequently set about prescribing his solution - biodynamic agriculture.
As we headed through the early and then the late twentieth century there were many commentators, amongst them, Dr William Albrecht, Sir Albert Howard, J. I. Rodale and many, many more. All of whom linked human health with the health of the soil.
More recently, Dr Terry Wahls has made great observations regarding food and health, in this case, a very personal one in her recovery from multiple sclerosis through eating health giving food. These videos are included here for your viewing.
Another fascinating and extraordinarily detailed work was put together by Weston A Price where he mapped the link between declining health as the wave of westernized food disrupted the nutritious diets of traditional civilizations. His thoroughly researched book which spanned in excess of 500 pages is called, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
If we are to look around the planet for groups of people who have extraordinary life spans, the Hunza of North Pakistan and the inhabitants of the Nile Delta, pre Aswan Dam, are to be noted.
Both people’s had the good fortune to enjoy food from an agriculture supported by water rich in rock flours and humic materials – the basis of modern biological - organic farming.
We at Vital Veggies accept the link between the health of the soil, the health of plants and the health they can confer on you, your family and friends.
In some of the hottest, latest research, scientists are excitedly validating a link between our DNA and the environment we live in and the quality of our foods. This new field of science is called epigenetics and maps how our epigenome, a subset of our DNA responds to the smallest influences, foods being one of them. Additionally, epigenetics has been described as the “medicine of the future”, and looks at how the foods we consume turns on or off genes - leading to wellness or illness. We recommend Pottenger’s Prophecy as a book on this subject. It will open a scientific window of the power of our food to directly influence our health today and then, that of future generations.
We at Vital Veggies are convinced of the link between the nutrients in your food and your health – that’s the raison d’etre for Vital Veggies.
A closing footnote on this topic: We at Vital Veggies consider it ironic how all Western countries tout their percentage of gross domestic product spent on health care. It seems the higher the figure, the prouder they are; it’s a sign of sophistication and leadership in the world. But maybe, it’s really a sign that there is something perversely wrong with what’s happening to people and their health in those countries. If governments can’t see it, won’t admit to it or are manipulated by the global agriculture and health conglomerates, then maybe you see through the veil. So today, you can understand how growing your own food is an act of subverting the reigning paradigm. We’d be cynical if we thought a lot of people around the planet make a massive amount of money out of our illnesses?