When World War I ended, manufacturers of chemical weapons did not know what to do with their company’s deadly products. A few inventive scientists—mostly in Germany—came up with the bright idea that these killer chemicals could be used on food crops. After all, since they killed enemies in wartime, surely they could be used to wipe out insects, fungi and other pests on farm crops. Who knows, they might even serve as fertilizers for farmers.
CHEMICAL FARMING IS BORN
They discovered that a mixture of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) would grow big yield crops of good-looking vegetables, grains, legumes and fruits. But little interest was taken in their discoveries until years later, at the end of World War II. At that time, most foods were still grown pretty much as they had always been—by farmers who manured, mulched, and rotated their crops to keep soils rich and in good condition. To put it another way, most food was grown organically, although nobody had even coined the word by then.
By the time World War II ended, chemical conglomerates involved in the manufacture of phosphates and nitrates as war materiel found themselves stuck with huge stockpiles. So they went looking for new markets. Aware of the early research into chemical fertilizing, they began to sell them artificial NPK fertilizers at costs low enough to make it all look very attractive.
These purveyors of chemicals spread the false belief that NPK is all you need to grow healthy crops. However, there were unfortunately two very important facts which chemical hawkers left out. Probably they did not even know. (Or perhaps it was not so good for their profit margins to know.) The first is that, although plants grow big on artificial fertilizers, they do not grow resistant to disease. The second is that the health of human beings eating plants grown this way can be seriously undermined.
Plants grown only on NPK are deprived of essential minerals and other micro-substances which they need to synthesize natural complexes in roots and leaves that ward off attack by insects, weeds and animals.
SOIL LIFE DESTROYED
So before long, the new artificially fertilized vegetables and fruits began to develop these diseases. Chemical hawkers were quick to the rescue. The answer to this problem, they told us, was to be found in using MORE chemicals. This is when pesticides, herbicides, nemacides and fungicides came into being, providing chemical companies with yet another exciting business opportunity—especially since the longer you fertilize chemically, the more depleted in organic matter all soils become and the less they contain of the minerals and trace elements needed to synthesize natural protective complexes during growth, so the more pesticides you need.
As time went on, more and more pesticides including other even nastier chemicals were sold. Before long, another important fact began to raise its ugly head. It was this: like plants, human beings need a lot more than nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus from the foods they eat to maintain their own health.
Your body cannot make minerals. It has to take them in, in a good balance, from the foods you eat. In addition to nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, your body requires magnesium, manganese and calcium, selenium, zinc, copper, iodine, boron, molybdenum, vanadium and other trace elements, some as yet undiscovered, to stay healthy. These elements can only come from the foods you eat. This they do, so long as the foods you eat are grown organically in healthy, traditionally fertilized soils. But they are completely missing and unbalanced in the foods we buy today, thanks to our legacy of chemical farming.
The organic matter in healthy soil is Nature's factory for biological activity. It is built up as a result of the breakdown of vegetable and animal matter by the soil's natural ‘residents’—worms, bacteria and other useful micro-organisms. The presence of these creatures in the right quantity and type gives rise to physical, chemical and biological properties that create fertility in our soils and make plants grown on them highly resistant to disease. When it comes to human health they do a lot more.
GIFT FROM MINERALS
The minerals and trace elements you need to trigger your metabolic processes, on which health and leanness depend, have to be in an organic form—this means they have to be taken from living things such as plant or animal foods. You cannot eat nails—inorganic iron—and expect to protect yourself from anaemia, or chew sand—inorganic silica—and be sure to get enough silica, the trace element to help keep your nails and hair strong and beautiful and protect your bones from osteoporosis.
It’s the organic matter in soils which enables plants grown on them to transform inorganic iron and silica into the organic form, which is taken up by the vegetables and fruits, grains and legumes which we then eat, making these nutrients available to our bodies. Destroy the soil's organic matter through chemical farming, and inexorably you destroy the health of people and animals living on foods grown on it. Organic methods of farming also help protect against significant distortions in mineral balances—an increase in one or more mineral elements which can alter the availability of others. This can also undermine your health. No such protection is available when your foods have been chemically grown.
STRUGGLING TO COPE
Your body has a remarkable ability to compensate for a mineral or trace element missing from your food. But, after years of our eating nutritionally-depleted foods, multiple deficiencies are virtually ubiquitous. According to large scale studies, these days almost none of us get the minerals we need to ensure that our metabolic processes work adequately—processes on which health, leanness, and the immune system depend. And the deficiencies we have developed from this, as well as the metabolic distortions that come in their wake, cannot easily be corrected. Popping the latest multi-mineral tablet from your corner pharmacy or health-food store won't do it, by the way.
Nutrients in foods exist in complex synergy and affect each other. They also interact and work together in your body. A balance of bio-available minerals and trace elements in fresh, organic foods is infinitely more complex than vitamin fanatics would have us believe. To restore balance once it has been disturbed, you need to return to good wholesome food—supplemented with extra green plants such as kelp, spirulina, chlorella, barley grass or alfalfa. However, this is a slow process taking months and even years.
Our indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, insecticides and other chemicals has quite literally poisoned the land we live in, and fostered degenerative diseases throughout the world. It was Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, who, back in 1947, warned that this would happen. At the time, she was viciously attacked for her brilliant book. Chemical interests did everything in their power to discredit what she wrote. Now, more than half a century later, her prophetic words have turned out to be terrifyingly accurate. Since Silent Spring, many laws have been passed and many official agencies have been set up throughout the world designed to regulate the kind and quantity of chemicals used on the land. They vary greatly in their approach and powers from one country to another. Sadly, they all have one thing in common: an inability to stop or significantly alter the ubiquitous poisoning of lands, people, animals and the earth itself.
So the poisoning of our air, land and water continues. In most countries it grows worse year by year. Like ostriches, we often bury our heads in the sand, hoping that what we don't see won't hurt us. Meanwhile, each year, billions of gallons of chemicals are sprayed onto crops. In the US alone, billions of pounds of pesticides are spread over the soils including herbicides, chemical fertilizers, rodentocides, and other chemical contaminants.
Even better... grow as many of your own fruits and vegetables in the garden, in the windowsill of your kitchen, or anywhere you can find good soil that has not been chemically treated.
Organic growing will help protect you from significant distortions in mineral balance. Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are sprayed with pesticides—petrochemically derived compounds which behave like low-dose synthetic oestrogens in the body. Many are also treated with fungicides or wax. Each one of these chemicals contributes to the toxic overload which ages your body rapidly, putting pressure on your liver and encouraging free radical damage. When it comes to maintaining good insulin balance, you do not want this to happen. A stressed liver has trouble managing glucose and controls insulin poorly. Shop as often as you can in stores which offer organic produce and non-GMO foods.
Not only do organic vegetables taste better, the organic matter in healthy soil is nature’s factory for biological activity that, when you eat them fresh, is communicated to you. Organic vegetables supply us with an excellent balance of minerals, trace elements, and vitamins. The organic matter in soil is built up as a result of the break-down of vegetable and animal matter by its natural residents - worms, bacteria and other micro-organisms. The presence of these creatures in the right quantity and type, which you never find in factory farming, gives rise to physical, chemical and biological properties which create fertility in our soils and make plants grown on them highly resistant to disease. This resistance to illness and degeneration is then passed on to us when we eat the foods.