Friday, August 31, 2012

It's in the pudding.

Why it is that human beings (and increasingly now the pets they keep) seem to be the only creatures on the face of the earth for whom the foods they crave are the ones that kill them most readily? Super Size Me stands as a tremendous example of that, among many others. Our modern literature, rife with books on the evils of nearly every food commonly produced and commonly affordable, adds even more voices to the dissent. It seems only the “radical” ways of eating (whether raw vegan or truly traditional diets like Wise Traditions) have any real, true effect for the better on health in the long term. (That statement comes from talking directly to people who have eaten this way, and my own personal experience, not studies paid for by pharmaceutical companies, the AMA, or other western traditional medicine/nutrition interests.)

As I sit here, wondering how to gather the strength again to take back my health yet another time (it’s a long story, and I’ve had two huge setbacks that have put me farther back than I was to start with), I’m amazed at the body of knowledge that’s out there about agricultural chemicals . . . that they spray on roadsides all over my county, that they routinely pour into lakes in the name of controlling invasive aquatic weeds, that are used on ag crops and in food “processing” that kill us by degrees. There’s a condition known as Leaky Gut, in which unfriendly flora populate the small intestine, using up the food you need and leaving toxins in it’s place, conveniently tearing into the lining of the small intestine so those toxins and lots of undigested foods (including gluten and lactose) are given a free pass into the bloodstream. How do these bad guys take up residence, you ask? Well, we feed them, and they grow. The gut (for lack of a better, short term) is an amazing little ecosystem all unto itself. It readily adapts to the foods we eat and the things in our environment, doing the best it can to handle what comes its way. If we eat whole, fresh foods, most of them raw, our digestive tracts are happy as can be (eventually–after the adjustment period), with the flora and fauna necessary to help us digest our foods. But, if we consume things not from the natural world (refined foods, processed foods, non-foods that are more chem lab than kitchen, and so on), our gut becomes populated with fungi and decidedly unfriendly flora that not only sink roots deep into the delicate lining of the small intestine causing microscopic tears, but they consume the food we would otherwise be able to absorb, and leave poisonous compounds in their wake. Not to mention allowing undigested food particles into the blood stream. And for susceptible individuals, that can mean serious deep depression.

I’ve been musing lately, about what a truly sane response would be to someone peddling poison as a panacea to problems both herbaceous and insectal. When presented with the chemicals, and after reading just a few lines of the toxicity warnings, the gardener/farmer/potential customer would look the chem pusher in the eye and say:

“This is poison. And you want me to put this on my food crops? In my garden? In my home? And this is supposed to help me?”

The chem guy responds: “It’s all perfectly safe. The recommended concentrations are so low that they’re perfectly safe for people and their pets. They’re designed to only kill tiny little critters or the target plants.”

Gardener: “So, for example, your insecticides only affect tiny insects, and things smaller?”

Chem Guy: “Exactly! It’s perfectly safe for you and me.”

Gardener: “What are you and I, besides astonishingly intricate conglomerations of tiny living creatures? Creatures orders of magnitudes smaller than insects? I don’t care how safe you say this is. If it kills bugs, it’ll kill me. Slowly but surely.”

It seems pretty clear that most of the rest of the world has realized this, with many countries banning all kinds of chemicals that are still legal in the U.S. It’s time we stopped lulling ourselves with the marketing spin from these chem mega-corps, and use a little common sense.

“Better living through chemistry” isn’t.

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