With the poor farming practices of many conventional farmers, soil nutrients are consumed by plants and deposited in edible portions, harvested and removed from the field. Inadequate tillage and abundant chemicals prevent nutrients from being redeposited in the field. The subsequent crop is less nutritious than the previous, and eventually produce has little nutrition.
This phenomenon of agricultural-based malnutrition was described by the physician Dr. Mark Hyman, who has written many books on his miraculous curing of disease through supplementary nutrition (one of his more recent titles is The Ultramind Solution, 2008): he discovered much disease today is caused by people not getting enough nutrition, even when consuming quantities of fruits and vegetables. Dr. Mark Hyman suggests that, in addition to an antitoxic diet, food be eaten fresh from the field, raw (if possible) and in wild / natural soil (as is developed by Tullian methods). Short of that, consumers should supplement their diet with essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
Besides being void of nutrients, many foods are highly toxic from the poisonous herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers many other farmers apply to the field.
Even while the question of what residual chemicals are actually within the foods consumed by the public is debated, there is a strong argument that there are chemical residues on foods but that they are simply not harmful. Even while it is debated whether those residues are harmful, there is a strong argument that there is no safe minimum quantity of those chemicals because they are so easily stored in the body until they gain a toxic threshold. Even while it is debated whether chemicals can reach a toxic threshold in the body, those who would desire their food to be free of such chemicals in the first place are derided as being fanatical or illogical.
Yet it remains a basic right – whether there are any chemical residues, whether those residues are harmful in any minute quantity – to have the choice of chemical-free food. And, at the same time, it is an impossibility.
The diffusion of chemicals from one field to another occurs easily. All chemicals have the potential to leach, or wash out, from the soil. When they leach, they enter into the groundwater, well water, or other water systems such as rivers. Chemicals have different rates of leaching, some are better at leaching than others. Besides leaching, many chemicals are applied through vapors or dust that travels by the wind.
Drift refers to the unplanned and uncontrollable movement of chemicals away from the application area through the air when applied as a spray. Most chemicals are applied as sprays because it is easily mechanized and easy to administer. This may be done by spraying close to the ground or from an airplane. When the spray is applied, it will be carried by the air currents to areas other than the intended area. It then settles on other plants, in the water, or around people.
Drift is usually impossible to see, since the particles carried through the air are too small for the human eye to discern. Chemicals can drift more than 50 miles away (Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). Secondhand Pesticides: Airborne Pesticide Drift)! While the chemical may become too diffuse to have much effect, this is not necessarily the case: some toxins are very potent even in small quantities. Drift can, and does, have important and dangerous effects on the environment.
What does not drift or leach can remain in the soil a very long time, providing small quantities of poison to future crops – sometimes for decades to come.
And then there are the chemicals which are not applied by farmers at all, but are fallout from industrial practices in nearby (or faraway) cities, nuclear industry practices, nuclear bomb tests and the mining of petroleum and other minerals. Some mining practices pollute groundwater supplies, which are then applied in agricultural and culinary uses.
This combination of factors results in an inability for a person to obtain food without chemicals. Rachel Carson in Silent Spring discusses this in greater depth and the subject has already been explored in this book, but it suffices to say that it is easy to obtain critical quantities of poison over the course of a lifetime (or even a few years – or less) by eating food: slowly, surely, the small quantities of poison build up in the body until they become problematic: “We know that even single exposures to these chemicals, if the amount is large enough, can precipitate acute poisoning. But this is not the major problem. The sudden illness or death of farmers, spraymen, pilots, and others exposed to appreciable quantities of pesticides are tragic and should not occur. For the population as a whole, we must be more concerned with the delayed effects of absorbing small amounts of the pesticides that invisibly contaminate our world.” The dangerous bioaccumulation that Carson describes killing animals that eat poisoned plants and that eat animals that ate poisoned plants applies to people, too. On this, Dr. Mark Hyman agrees.
While the USDA Organic Act was designed, to some extent, to secure this right of consumers to have chemical free foods, farmers are allowed to use so many synthetic and organic chemicals – some of which are highly toxic – that they need not actually alter their farming practices greatly to gain or retain “Organic” certification (Organic Lies, Mary Choate 2006). Yet, even if a farm were to not use any chemicals, the overwhelming presence of them in the environment would still present a danger to the consumer.
Cancer is a likely result of this continual, low-dose chemical poisoning. In 1900, malignant growths (including lymphatic and blood-forming tissues) accounted for 4% of the deaths (Carson). The Office of Vital Statistics for July 1959 reports that malignant growths (including lymphatic and blood-forming tissues) accounted for 15% of the deaths in 1958 (Carson). The United States Centers for Disease Control reports that, averaged between 2001 and 2005 there was a death rate of 189.8 per 100,000 people (http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/DCPC_INCA/ DCPC_INCA.aspx), but as cancer remains the leading and second-leading cause of death (CDC National Vital Statistics Reports, http://www.cdc.gov/NCHS/ data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvsr57_14.pdf), this significant decline reflects more on the overall declining death rate and the wider availability and diversity of treatment options for cancer.
Yet, more disturbingly, this decline may also be due to misreporting of data. the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in their article Are deaths within 1 month of cancer-directed surgery attributed to cancer? (Janice Hopkins Tanne. vol. 94 pg. 1066: http://www.vaoutcomes.org/papers/ Cancer_Deaths.pdf) describes how many of those who die while undergoing treatment for cancer are not reported to have died from Cancer: “Among patients with only one cancer, there were 4135 deaths within 1 month of diagnosis and cancer-directed surgery for the 19 solid tumors. Of these deaths, 1707 (41%) were attributed to something other than the coded cancer. There was considerable variation in the pattern of attribution among the 19 tumors (Table 1). The proportion not attributed to the coded cancer ranged from 13% for cervical cancer to 81% for laryngeal cancer. Selected intermediate values include 25% for esophageal cancer, 34% for lung cancer, 42% for colorectal cancer, 59% for breast cancer, and 75% for prostate cancer.”
Doctors Michael J Thun, and Phyllis A Wingo, in their article Cancer Epidemiology report that “the magnitude of the human and economic costs of cancer in the United States is enormous. At current rates, invasive cancer will be diagnosed in approximately 1 of every 2 American men and 1 in 3 women in their lifetimes. Cancer afflicts 2 out of every 3 families” (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshelf/br.fcgi?book=cmed&part=A5081).
The CDC reports that there was between 2001 and 2005 an average national incidence rate of 473.4 per 100,000 people. This 0.4734% rate, with an average life expectancy hovering at about 70 years for most Americans, lends credence to Thun and Wingo’s suggestion that 42% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. This represents perhaps a 4-fold increase since the turn of the 20th Century, but with such inaccurate data on cancer rates, it is hard to measure.
Other effects of gradual chemical poisoning are difficult to measure: the subtle ways in which the poisons disrupt cellular and organ function in a body can result in any number of diseases. Predisposition to disease becomes the disease itself, and while it is possible that a person may have become sick with a disease anyway, proving that gradual chemical poisoning is responsible is nearly impossible: a drunkard may fall over regardless of what happens around them, and proving that they were pushed over is difficult. But this is no reason to tip the drunk: there is no need for people to expose themselves to the danger and risk falling over the brink.
Dr. Hyman reports that the average American eats many pounds of chemicals every year, but exposure without eating food is not difficult, considering how easy it is to absorb the chemicals through your skin, and how easily they leach and drift. Clothing readily absorbs many chemicals, and can hold it until it is taken in by your skin. This is especially true of the organophosphates.
The worst result of many of these poisons is that they increase the need for vitamins, minerals, protein and energy while simultaneously reducing the body’s ability to gain them from food. A person can suffer from severe malnutrition and be eating all the “right” foods.
When it is considered that the use of these chemicals increases the rate of disease (by encouraging mosquito and other insect-borne disease), decreases nutrition in food and otherwise makes the environment less wholesome to humans, the full implications of the disaster are begun to be understood.
Dr. John Kellogg developed the first understandings of how the body poisons itself through autointoxication, and prescribed a diet low in protein, high in fiber, rich in fruits and vegetables and balanced in protein to cure the disorder. However, when the food itself is toxic, or when the body is stressed through severe infection, additional support is required and Kellogg’s basic and fundamental approach is insufficient. Fortunately, Dr. Mark Hyman developed an improvement to the antitoxic diet that is largely effective.
When a human is infected by microorganisms or has been exposed to toxins, it is necessary to support their bodies beyond a normal, healthy, antitoxic diet as they detoxify the pollution in their tissues and blood. While fortified water (as discussed in the chapter on Animal Husbandry – a combination of water, sugar, balanced protein and balanced vitamins and minerals) is a good beginning, specific supplementation will assist the body further.
Three herbs, in particular, are excellent for this. The cranberry fruit supports kidney function by stimulating the kidney to work harder. Other diuretics function similarly, but in America, the cranberry is widely available and affordable. The thistle (especially the milk thistle) supports liver function in a similar way: it provides the necessary chemicals required for the liver to function so that less energy is required to manufacture precursors to those many enzymes that the liver produces and more enzymes are produced. Kelp supports the endocrine system by similarly “feeding” it.
Specifically, Dr. Mark Hyman and others suggest that the human should consider supplementing
· Cranberry, Thistle and Kelp
· Vitamin B-12 (which supports every cell in the body, especially affecting the DNA synthesis and regulation but also fatty acid synthesis and energy production. It also helps greatly with muscle growth and development. This should be administered under the tongue or otherways that avoid digestion.)
· Vitamin C (while manufactured by most animals, humans, many apes, many monkeys, many tarsiers, all bats and a few other animals rely on external sources of Vitamin C. Most foods have quantities of Vitamin C, especially vegetables and fruits. It is used in many ways in the body, both as an antioxidant and a prooxidant, almost always as an antitoxin. Notably, it functions against uric acid and other toxins that are byproducts of human meat digestion, though not completely enough to eliminate the dangers of dietary meat, nor does it act upon the dangers of high protein content in the gut. Cooking Vitamin C destroys it, and under normal cooking conditions 60% or more of the Vitamin C is destroyed). The human body requires about 4 grams of Vitamin C during the day.
· Calcium Citrate (which is more readily absorbed and used than other forms of Calcium)
· Choline (a kind of B vitamin necessary for cellular structural integrity and signaling, neurotransmission, and as a source for methyl groups via its metabolite, trimethylglycine). It is especially effective against organophosphates.
· Inositol (which is used throughout the body in insulin signal transduction, cytoskeleton assembly, nerve guidance, intracellular calcium (Ca2+) concentration control, cell membrane maintenance, serotonin activity modulation, breakdown of fats and reducing blood cholesterol, and gene expression and more).
· Magnesium (which functions as a laxative, reducing the risks of reabsorption through the gut of toxins eliminated through it. It also functions in other important ways, but this is the chief benefit of magnesium in the detoxifying supplemental diet).
· Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9 (“Essential”) Fatty Acids (this is easily obtained through flax seed oil, or through most seeds and nuts and grass-fed bird eggs. Omega Fatty Acids are used throughout the body, but especially in neural tissues muscle tissues).
· A general multivitamin
Some poisons require specific antitoxins and a Doctor should be consulted at all times during detoxification. Yet it is a general rule that poisons, whether natural or synthetic, both increase the need of a body for vitamins and minerals while decreasing the ability of the body to use what vitamins and minerals are available by either directly reacting with the vitamins and minerals or by inhibiting their uptake and use.