Without health, life is not life; it is only a state of languor and suffering – an image of death. - Rabelais, circa 1530 and nothing much has changed.
The most important thing in our lives is to have good health. No one would agree with this more than those who don’t have it but those who do have it, take it for granted and think it will go on forever no matter what their diet or lifestyle. To those misguided souls, the day of reckoning is roaring towards you.
In spite of all the best 21st century research mankind seems to succumb to more diseases than that suffered by all the world’s other creatures combined and even they are not faring too well. Why? The problem is worldwide so the answer is likely to be something that affects the planet as a whole.
Life requires four things, water, air, food and for most species light. The decline in water quality is well documented, at times even rain water isn’t safe to drink. Apart from today’s smog content, air in very early times used to contain 25-30% oxygen, today in most countries it is 10%, 15% in the less densely populated and therefore less industrialised ones. As to food, along with all land dwelling creatures, we are totally dependent on the existence of soil to provide it. Sea food excluded, everything we eat has either grown in soil or was some creature that ate plants.
Soil is a substance crucial to our existence and yet we treat it like dirt beneath our feet! OK, so it is, nevertheless . . . Most of mankind even considers it a nuisance because it dirties our nice clean shoes, bogs our cars, muddies up our nice clean waterways and we are forever moving it out of the way to build houses and roads. The list of inconveniences is endless.
So what is soil and where did it come from? We need to go back to the last ice age, well, no, to explain it properly we have to look at the entire universe.
The latest scientific research has determined that the universe is made up of 75% energy (yet to be understood), 21% dark matter (yet to be observed) and a mere 4% atoms (on which more than 99.999% of all our understanding is focused).
This tangible 4% of the universe is made up from 117 elements, 7 of these don't count for much because they have a life of seconds or less before they revert to compounds. Some 26 of them are radio-active, not common in concentrated form but they are just about everywhere in proportions of less than a 1000th of a billionth of a percent. That said, ALL ATOMS (liquids, solids and gases) are made up of either one of the remaining 110 elements or a combination of two or more. For example the elements of Hydrogen and Oxygen when combined at the appropriate temperature in the ratio of 2:1 makes water - H2O.
We assume that early in the earth's history it was a ball of molten rock. Today, the centre is assumed to still be molten rock, the lava flows from active volcanoes are merely some of it leaking to the surface. This primeval substance contains almost all of the 110 stable elements though proportions vary from place to place.
Now to ice ages and soil creation. An ice age lasts for 100,000 years or so and during that time the surface of the planet is almost totally covered with ice, perhaps kilometres deep in places. The sea level falls maybe 100 metres to provide moisture for the snow and ice. As the ice age ends, which probably takes 1000 years, the ice moves from high areas to low areas as a glacier and in doing so it breaks off chunks of the original volcanic rock. The 1000s of tonnes of glacial ice grind these rocks against each other and onto the bedrock below it. They are broken down into stones, pebbles, sand, silt and finally clay.
As the planet warms up, the bottom end of the glaciers melt to water and drop their sediment. The path that the glacier took usually becomes the path of a river which doubly ensures that river deltas are extremely fertile with sediment to a great depth. Glaciers would also end at inland depressions (lakes) and when they fill with sediment the result can be huge fertile plains.
The other major contributor to soil creation is volcanoes. Eruptions are associated with huge clouds of volcanic ash which, coming from below the earth's crust, contains many of the 110 elements. Ash clouds have been large enough to encircle the earth for years and by the time it all fell back to the surface it would have spread to every nook and cranny. The near environs to active volcanoes become smothered to a great depth with erupted material heavier than ash and as fine as clay usually red in colour. This material has most of the elements and it supports vigorous plant growth.
Of course there is more to soil than sediment or ash. Bacteria who were the only life form on the planet for more than half its life, find this sediment a great place to live. In one large handful of fertile soil there are more SPECIES of bacteria and fungi than there are people on the planet. The residues left behind from their cycle of life is pure mineral rich plant food.
Then there is rain, that great giver of life, the germinator of seeds, the wonderful gatherer of nitrogen from the air and deliverer of it to the soil, the lifeblood of plants - AND DEPLETER of soil fertility !!!!!
The broad picture is that over thousands of years, rainfall run off into creeks, rivers and finally the ocean, has taken with it all or some of the trace elements and seriously depleted many abundant ones.
So what, you say. As ‘children of the Universe’ the human body is also made up of most of the 110 elements which presents some understanding to that world famous allegory “LORD GOD formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed the breath of life into it”. Like ‘mother earth’ we not only have considerable 'run off' every few hours but we also have 'mud slides' on a daily basis. The food we eat is expected to replenish those elements lost but if our soil no longer has the full compliment of minerals, then our food won’t have it either and we become ever more deficient as the years go by. Ding !!! Is that why older people get more ailments than younger people? Hmm, that presumes we start out life with the full compliment of minerals but these days we don’t, you can only start out with as many as your mum provided you with before birth, but you could build on that by what you eat at any time thereafter, the earlier the better. Unfortunately, that practically never happens as you invariably inherit your parent’s eating habits and it naturally follows that you will develop the same ailments in response to the same deficiencies.
They are the naturally occurring deficiencies, now to look at induced deficiencies. These are brought about by indulging, intentionally or otherwise, in excesses. Let’s assume a creature is composed of four elements A, B, C, and D in equal proportions. In that condition it is vibrant, alive and thriving. Then it has a night out on the town gorging on exotic foods and alcohol and next morning is very unwell. Tests show that elements A and B are now twice as high as C and D so the conclusion is that all of a sudden it has deficiencies of C and D. Supplements might be prescribed to restore the balance, that’s the naturopathic approach. Conventional medicine might prescribe pain killers while it looks for a virus and it might well find one as the balance of elements could now be ideal for a virus to flourish whereas before it wasn’t. However, the virus is not the cause of the ill health, it is there as a result of it. It would be nice if there was a way to reduce A and B to their earlier levels and there is - fasting but the modern mindset that we ‘must eat to keep our strength up’ precludes that for all but the most dedicated.
The actual quantity of any or all elements in our body is irrelevant, what is important is the proportions each have in relation to the others and that they should all be there no matter how miniscule is the quantity required. One of our biggest imbalances comes via protein, we are told we need it, lots of it, every-day. Protein is inextricably linked to Nitrogen and too much Nitrogen is the precursor to all manner of pathogens both in plants and humans. Farmers like to add Nitrogen to their soil, it makes the crops grow tall and green, adds to the yield (after they contend with the rush of pests that follow) and puts $s in the bank. This over nitrified crop becomes our food and we can’t help but have our Nitrogen levels pushed to excess – now the other elements in our makeup will measure as deficient.
One of the more useful products of modern science is equipment that can measure the composition of elements in a given sample. Soil testing as an aide to agriculture has been around for decades. The common test only checks for 14 elements important to plant growth. Science can’t yet demonstrate the importance of the others so they aren’t checked.
Sea water has been analysed and 62 elements were detected, hydrogen and oxygen were the most prevalent, it is mostly water after all, except Oxygen was 857000 parts per million whereas Hydrogen, the H2 of water, was only 108000 parts. The excess Oxygen allows fish to breath of course. Chlorine and Sodium were next, no surprises there. The test measures down to incredibly small portions, for example Radon is present at 6 billionths of one part per million.
Tests have been done on all manner of things from the top 10 miles of the earths crust, plant material, patent mineral supplements and getting up close and personal, human hair. An analysis on human tissue tests for 36 elements. Hair is good because it reflects the average bodily content of elements over the time it took the hair to grow, usually the previous 6 to 8 weeks. The big surprise is that most people contain Uranium at 5 ten thousandths of one part per million. If you have ever been called a walking time bomb, you could reply with “No, I’m actually a nuclear bomb”.
The point to all this is that to be healthy we need the full compliment of elements in the right proportions. So how do we get them? Swallowing a handful of ground up volcanic sand, even when ground down to clay particles, will do nothing for us, trying to grow veggies in it means they will die. Neither humans or plants can get minerals from rock in its raw form. Bacteria are the key, they can utilise these rock minerals and the residue from this process is plant food. Even this is something humans still can’t assimilate directly but after the plant grows from it, we can eat the plant or the fruit it produces and now finally we get minerals but only those minerals that were there to begin with.
This is the essential eco-system on which we depend for our very existence. It doesn’t end there, bacteria also recycle into plant food dead leaves, dead plants, animal waste, in fact everything organic that no longer has life. The minerals they contained are kept and readied for the next season of plant growth. What about our waste? One of the most abundant wastes on the planet, yet we hide it in septic tanks or we pump it out to sea. The sea already has much of the land mass minerals without us deliberately adding to it. Fortunately “we” are waking up to ourselves and some of this is being returned to the soil from whence it came.
To summarise, thousands of years of rain run off exacerbated in the last 200 years by man cutting down most of the worlds trees, modern agriculture concerned with applying three minerals most of the time (fourteen at best) and man by removing his waste from the eco cycle have effectively removed the diversity and quantity of minerals from the soil that it originally had. Deficient soil means deficient food and deficient us.
There are two options to enable vegetation to contain the full compliment of minerals. One is to apply finely ground volcanic rock to the soil at the rate of 10 tonnes per acre. This will be enough to last 10 years after which another application will be required. The first application must be 10 tonnes otherwise the process just doesn’t get under way. At the same time a soil test needs to be taken and any major deficiencies corrected with particular emphasis placed on getting pH and cation exchange somewhere within optimum limits.
The second option is the application of seaweed fertilizer, better still if it’s combined with ground up fish waste. The theory here is to return to the land all the minerals that were washed from it over past thousands of years. The soil test as above, again is required but in this instance careful attention is needed to ensure that any excesses the soil may already contain, are not added to by the product applied.
To conclude, your food IS grown on depleted soils and YOU ARE mineral deficient unless you take the appropriate mineral supplements. Note the emphasis on ‘appropriate’, it is a waste of time taking a full range of available mineral supplements with the expectation that this will rectify your deficiencies. The same broad range supplements will almost certainly increase your excesses, thus you will be no better off and could even be worse off. A hair analysis is one of the better ways to discover your particular deficiencies – and excesses. The laboratories who do such tests usually furnish a wealth of information in a report not only suggesting what supplements to take but will list common sources that could be fuelling your excesses.
You are an ‘elementary’ being, every minute of your life you take in elements, utilise them and prepare to expel others. Breathing is about inhaling Oxygen and Nitrogen, when breathing out you expel Carbon and Oxygen as CO2 and most of the Nitrogen you just took in. Drinking water (all drinks are mostly water) is about taking in the elements Hydrogen and Oxygen (plus a plethora of impurities these days), when you eat your body expects to get all the other elements from your food.
Now that you have this new wisdom, what are you going to do with it? Put rock dust on your veggie patch? Unless you actually grow something, there’s not much you can do other than contribute to creating a public demand. Seek out or at least continually ask for, produce from farmers who have applied rock dust or sea minerals to their soil. Organic farmers are most likely the ones to have done this but doing so isn’t part of the organic code of practice. Such growers only have to comply with ‘don’t do’ regulations (spray, apply chemical fertilizer etc), there are no minimum soil fertility standards to be met. Organic produce can be and often is, just as deficient in minerals as conventional produce but it shouldn’t be burdened with toxic chemicals that is invariably the case with conventional produce.
Bear in mind that the planet may be much better off, have less pollution, global warming etc, if the human population were significantly reduced. If you think all written above is bunkum, then, you won’t act on it or refer this on to your friends, you will continue eating all the diabolical culinary delights invented by multinationals solely to part you from your $s. All this will continue to build up your excesses plus further diminish your deficiencies and the auto reduction of world population can get into full swing. At last, it’s a win-win situation for good ole mother earth.