"They” say that if we eat fresh fruits and vegetables, we will get all of the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need, but "They" are extremely misinformed and out of touch with the new reality. Modern farming methods have caused massive soil depletion on the commercial farm acreage upon which we grow most of our food crops and cereal grains on. All of this has happened in less than one hundred years, but with the exception of some smaller farmers and home gardeners that practice sustainable farming, involving crop rotation and composting, this soil depletion is continuing unabated today.
When the Second World War ended, the drug and chemical conglomerates inherited huge amounts of nitrates and phosphates which had been used in the manufacturing of munitions during the war. The conglomerates knew from earlier experiences, that these minerals made very effective fertilizer. They then started to aggressively market these N (nitrogen) P (phosphorus) K (potassium) fertilizers to farmers at extremely affordable prices. This made the traditional organic methods of farming uneconomical, so that by the sixties, the majority of American farmers had become wholly dependent upon NPK products.
This system of farming was a tremendous success, creating lush and abundant crops, so much so, that the United States had the ability to feed the world, but our soil and the consumers have been paying a very steep price ever since. NPK products grow wonderful delicious looking vegetables that appear green and healthy at the supermarket, but we are not vegetables. To maintain good healthy bodies, we require 59 nutrients on a daily basis including 13 vitamins and 22 minerals. These supermarket vegetables are not overly . NPK products were never designed for human nutrition, so they do not contain more than 8 of these essential minerals. Yet all of these nutrients are vitally essential for our health and well-being.
As each successive crop was grown on soil loaded with NKP products, the soil slowly became depleted, so that now our vegetables are now mineral and vitamin bankrupt. A good example is spinach, in 1948: a bowl of spinach contained 150 mg of iron, now that same bowl contains 2 mg.
Then, as if that is not enough, all these vegetables go through processing before they are marketed. Processing removes a huge percentage of what vital minerals and nutrients are left. Removing grain husks, blanching, boiling, baking, steaming, bleaching and freezing all have the potential to remove nutritious aspects of our food. Then the produce is usually shipped thousand of mile to our localities so that even the freshness has disappeared as well.
As an example, In a recent study to determine nutrient loss in potatoes over the last 50 years, it was discovered that the following losses occurred:
• 100% of Vitamin A
• 57% of Vitamin C and Iron
• 28% of Calcium
• 50% of Riboflavin
• 18% of Thiamine
Out of all of the nutrients analyzed only niacin levels actually did increase. The conclusion was very similar for 25 fruits and vegetables under the same test conditions. Broccoli had a huge reduction in which all nutrients had significantly declined, surprisingly including niacin.
These figures have been published in scientific journals in the UK including the British Food Journal.
We are what we eat!!
1992 Earth Summit Statistics
1992 Earth Summit Report* indicate that the mineral content of the world's farm and range land soil has decreased dramatically.
Percentage of Mineral Depletion From Soil During The Past 100 Years, By Continent:
|North America||85% **|
* You may remember the 1992 Earth Summit by the fact that President Bush wouldn't sign any of the treaties.
** Some US farms are 100% depleted and some are 60% depleted, the average is 85% depletion as compared to 100 years ago. This is worse than in any other country in the world because of the extended use of fertilizers and "maximum yield" mass farming methods.
Fertilizers Are The Problem, Not The Solution
According to research in animal husbandry and from The National Science Foundation, animals require at least: 45 minerals 12 essential amino acids 16 vitamins 3 essential fatty acids
According to Gary Price Todd, MD, the human body requires at least 60 minerals for optimal health and basically the same other essentials as animals.
But, only 8 minerals are available in any kind of quantity in most of the food we eat today.
We know plants can make vitamins, amino acids and varying amounts of fatty acids, if they are healthy from being grown in soils containing abundant minerals. If the soil lacks minerals, the plant is stunted because a plant can not make minerals.
Why not just add more minerals.
Because it's too expensive for corporations with vested interests in the current system to fix the problem until the demand for fully nutritious food is higher. The demand won't increase until more people know about the result of mineral deficiency. More people won't get informed until scientists and others manage to inform the public.
This socio-economical perspective is confirmed by a US Dept. of Agriculture official that was quoted in Diet for a New America (John Robbins, Stillpoint Publishing, 1987). Quote: "...halting soil erosion and degradation would be prohibitively expensive"
In other words the situation is not going to be fixed any time soon.
Depleted soils - why the fruit and vegetables we eat may be doing more harm than good!
We've all heard and read it countless times - "the best way to maintain health is to eat a balanced diet including lots of fruit and vegetables". Of course, this is absolutely correct, so long as those fruits and vegetables are not grown on the mineral-depleted soils that necessitate todays ever-increasing range of chemical "fertilizers".
Why is the soil depleted?
As long ago as the 1920s, the British and US Governments were warned by nutritional experts that the soils on which most crops were grown were so deficient in mineral content that the foods grown on them contained less than 10% of the vitamins and minerals they should have. The intention of these reports was to highlight the problem so that remedial action could be taken to rematerialize the soils, leading, once again, to naturally healthy fruits and vegetables.
Unfortunately, neither Government took any action to correct this problem, and as a result, which has been intensified by modern intensive farming methods, the fruits and vegetables not only have little or no vitamin and mineral content, but they are routinely sprayed with such a broad selection of chemicals that they are actually poisonous.
How can plants grow without vitamins and minerals?
Most plants require only three nutrients to grow, namely nitrogen, phosphorus and water. In the presence of these nutrients, virtually all plants will grow into what appear to be healthy, nutritious adult specimens. However, if the minerals found in their natural habitat are not present, such plants and their relevant fruits and vegetables will be nutritionally "empty".
As a result of this, these plants are less able to defend themselves against natural predators and are susceptible to insect attack and damage from viruses / bacteria. In order to control this, insecticides, antifungals, antibiotics, pesticides and dozens of other categories of chemicals have been designed to limit the damage done to plants by their natural enemies.
Unfortunately, many of these chemicals have not been properly tested to assess their effects on either plant or human health, and virtually none have been tested in combination to assess their combined effects. The result is that most fruits, vegetables and other plant-based foods are so contaminated with a huge variety of chemicals, and so deficient in nutrient content that they actually do more harm than good.
How do we address the problem of depleted soils?
The simplest (and cheapest) way to address the depleted soils problem is to do what was suggested in the 1920s - "repair" the soils our fruits and vegetables are grown on by rematerializing them and using organic waste products to put back those nutrients necessary to plant, and therefore human (and farmed animal) health.
Fortunately, in recent years, "Organic" farms have sprung up all over the World. Unfortunately, not all countries have imposed the rigorous methods of, for example, the UK Soil Association to accredit organic producers, and standards a varied. Organic products are, however, in most countries guaranteed to be free from pesticides and other chemicals, which means they are at worst, not detrimental to health and, if grown on appropriately "cleansed" and "fed" soil, as beneficial as we all believe they should be and not the depleted soils used in factory farms.
Until this is done on a massive scale (and that is unlikely - US farmers in particular are relying on genetically modified (GM) versions of plants to overcome increasing growth and yield problems due to depleted soils) we have little alternative than to avoid the worst of the chemicals and to replace the missing vitamins and minerals through the use of nutritional supplements.
Nutritional Supplements - what are they, how do they work and how do you choose them?
Nutritional supplements are without a doubt one of the most easily accessible and also one of the most confusing aspects of natural health.
Manufacturers of nutritional supplements often blind us with science and scientific (or pseudo-scientific) names. Here we summarize the different types of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and other nutritional supplements, so that you can both understand what they do and why they are necessary for healthy living.
Why do we need nutritional supplements or food supplements?
Since the 1920s, Western Governments have known that the majority of our food crops have been grown on mineral-depleted soils, which makes them not only more susceptible to plant diseases and insect attack, but also nutritionally fairly worthless.
In addition to this, animal feeds have changed from the natural foods they eat in the wild to highly processed, chemical laden concoctions that are designed to maximize growth rate, muscle mass and therefore value whilst minimizing cost and the time it takes to turn them into a healthy profit. The result is meat that is dangerously high in chemicals and totally lacking in the natural nutritional elements that have kept us healthy for so long (until the 20th century!).
If this weren't bad enough, the modern reliance on pharmaceutical medicine to remove all symptoms of disease instantly has led us away from the traditional cures that sought to replace what was missing in the body. Indeed, many modern drugs, such as diuretics actually make us lose the very minerals we require for health at an increased rate.
As a consequence, virtually everyone in the Western World (many "primitive cultures" are much better nourished than we are) needs to supplement their diet to a greater or lesser extent. the most common types of nutritional supplements fall into the following categories:-
Types of Nutritional Supplements
Essential fatty acids