By Patrick Quanten MD
In our Western Culture a lot of time, effort and money is spent on educating the population about a healthy diet. We have developed diets for all kinds of illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and food allergies. These diets are said to help the management of the illness as well as drastically reduce the complications of the worsening illness. At least that is what we are constantly told!
A Few Facts
- The recommended diabetic diet was originally one of low carbohydrates, high fat and high protein. This resulted in a significantly higher number of heart and circulation problems as compared with diabetics who were not "treated". The diet recommendation was changed to low carbohydrates, low fat and high protein. This resulted in worrying numbers of kidney failures. Again a change in diet was recommended, each recommendation of course made under the banner Trust me, I'm a Doctor. The "new" diet, as used now, is high carbohydrate, low fat and reduced protein, combined with high fibre. Replacements, suitable for diabetics, for almost all foods have been manufactured, no doubt with the sole aim of improving the diabetics health. Has this diet reduced the number and severity of diabetic complications the medical profession is dealing with? Does this diet control the disease so that diabetics have no need to move on to insulin replacement treatments? - The fact is that all those statistics are getting worse. Added to that the government has "warned" that the number of diabetics is rising dramatically and is starting to take on epidemic proportions. They blame it on an alarming increase of obesity within the population. However, juvenile diabetic figures (diabetes in young people) are equally rising at an alarming rate, not all of which can be blamed on obesity.
- For the last few decades this culture has been hard at work to change our diet to a low fat one in order to protect us from obesity and related illnesses. During that time the figures show a dramatic increase, not a fall, in obesity. Could this be a direct result of the introduction of the low fat diet? Could it be that removing the natural fats from our food is contributing to the increase of obesity within the population?
- Blood tests revealing high cholesterol levels are responded to by introducing a fat reducing diet in order to bring down the cholesterol level. This, we are told, is essential to reduce the occurrence of heart and circulation problems. As we now know, the cholesterol in the food that you eat does not correspond to the cholesterol in your blood. The food cholesterol gets fully broken down before it's components get absorbed. The same happens to the fat you eat (cholesterol is one form of fat). We also know that a large number of people who strictly follow the low fat diet do not reduce their cholesterol levels at all. More over, plenty of people with high cholesterol level have never eaten a high fat diet and in fact have grown up on a low fat dietfilled with low fat products. Scientists have furthermore established that there is no statistical link between the cholesterol level and the occurrence of heart and circulation problems. Many people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol levels; and equally many high cholesterol people never have heart attacks or strokes.
- The obvious thing to do when you have a food allergy is to avoid that particular item in order to become healthy again. You stop eating the offensive item, replace it with a x-free product made for your convenience and with only your health in mind. So, after a lengthy period of abstinence you become healthy again? I'm afraid not. Not only does your allergy not get any better - in other words, the allergic reaction does not diminish - but you develop new ones as well. As you become more and more careful about what you eat, your system becomes more and more intolerable to more and more different food items. Has the x-free diet really improved your health? Are artificially made alternative foods improving your health?
What's going on?
All the statistical evidence shows that the health of the population is failing rapidly. Not only has that become clear in the actual numbers of obesity, diabetics, heart patients, cancer patients, etc. but it is also born out by numbers relating to hospital beds and hospital days, operations, consumption of "essential" prescription drugs, days of sick leave, number of people on health benefits and occupation of nursing and care homes. All of which are explained by the authorities in terms of better provisions, better social security systems and better treatments.
However, it makes sense that better treatments and better diagnostic facilities would also lead to a healthier population. That is if it is all working as claimed. The number of major diseases (terminal) would not dramatically be affected by better diagnosing and treating as diabetics or heart patients or cancers would eventually show up in the statistics anyway, even if this was a bit belated. Consequently, the number of people with a particular disease is not seriously affected by the late diagnosis of the disease. This leads us to the conclusion that it is the actual numbers that are increasing, not our perception of those numbers, as clearly demonstrated by yearly statistics. Not only are these numbers much higher compared with fifty years ago, but also year upon year the numbers increase which casts doubt upon the authority's claims that treatments are now much more successful than they ever have been.
So, if the population as a whole is getting less and less healthy what could be the reason behind that? Do we have indications as to where to look for the answers? What is so dramatically different in our lives these days compared with fifty, hundred or even more years ago that it could be responsible for such a serious downturn in the nations state of health?
Well there is much more widespread pollution now than there ever was before.
What is it that we have polluted?
I suppose it is safe to say that we have polluted just about everything there is to be polluted: air, soil, water. It is also safe to say that almost all of this has come about through industrialisation. Our great urge to "produce" things has kept our focus away from the effects it could have on the immediate surroundings. Not only have we been very keen to play with chemicals in order to produce matter more suited to our growing and more sophisticated needs, but we have also introduced these chemicals to enhance production of our food in order to engross profits.
Chemicals have been used in order to rid our agriculture of pests, creatures that were doing damage to our crops and consequently giving us a lower return on our investment of money and effort. Pesticides have been widely used in agriculture to enhance the harvest without any thought for the effect it might have other than killing little pests. Growth stimulating chemicals are used on the soil to enhance the yield. Years later we are forced to admit that pesticides and chemical soil feeds are poisonous to all living creatures, including humans; that pesticide residue remains on the crops as consumed by us; that pesticides and crop enhancers pollute the soil and the water, making it costly and almost impossible to clean up. Furthermore, we learned that the pests develop so quickly that they soon get used to the pesticides as part of their changing environment and consequently pesticides start losing their potency. Total result: more pollution and harm to the self without producing the effect once claimed, "to rid the agriculture of all pests".
Similarly, life stock could be made more profitable by means of increasing the weight of the animal. This could be successfully done via the introduction of chemicals (steroids, sex hormones, antibiotics, growth hormones) into their food. Years later we learned that these chemicals accumulate in the meat and consequently in the consumer. Regulations are put in place to control the practise, not to outlaw it, as profit is still more important than public health. Chemicals continue to accumulate within the human consumer as well as within the life stock. Calls to link the status of ill-health of the life stock as well as the human being to the continual collection of these alien molecules are vehemently squashed by all authorities.
Genetic modification protects crops against infections and infestations, selects the more productive varieties, increases vegetable and fruit crops, increases fish size, adds selected properties to the crops; in short, enhances the quality and quantity of the product. What more could you as the consumer wish for? Well, even after a short spell of experimenting we already see some of the effects these crops are having: some grow uncontrollably, others produce sterile seeds, flowers have lost their sent, soy is now generally known to be dangerous as a main source of protein as there is no single yield in the whole world that can be guaranteed to be GM free. Being enthusiastic about genes and manipulating them does not equate with knowing all there is to know about the functions and interactions of the genes and manipulating them is like a layman playing with a bomb. You have no idea when it will explode in your face.
Yet, food does get blamed for the poor health of the population whenever this is acceptable and no longer avoidable, and then drastic measures are taken. Milk has to be fully sterilised before it can be sold. Fruits and vegetables will have to be "treated" against possible infections and infestations. Meats and meat products as well as oils have to be lowered in fat content. No food product can be sold unless it has been "treated" properly. Sugar is removed from natural products and replaced by chemicals to cater for our sweet taste. Healthy Options come out of packages, or are reconstituted foods, which includes baby milk.
The Food Industry is born. Economic considerations have hijacked the food we eat. Advice on what to eat, how to eat it, how to produce it and how to preserve it, is driven by and given by the industry. However, we can rest assured that the industry has our health and well-being and only that at heart; a bit like the tobacco industry. "You must realise that we are not producing and handling food for profit; we do this in the interest of your health, to the detriment of our own personal investment." An industry which has the power to regulate itself, to investigate and research internally with the exclusion of any outside independent scientific approach (government needs good statistics for the economy), and to tell the truth as per their own needs, has been let loose on the unsuspecting population. "Experts", financed and supported by the industry, give us piecemeal information about what they think we ought to know. Whenever suspicion and doubt is raised it is met with reassuring noises that more research is necessary, which we will carry out and you will pay for. And try to forget I work for the industry! In the mean time, nothing changes and people will forget about the revelations and questions in due course.
Every industry, per definition, has a primary aim: to make profits. This is their own aim, as we all want to see a good return on our investment, but it also suits the government. It is good news for the economy of a country if an industry makes profits; it is good for statistics as it reduces the number of people out of work; and it is good for the employee as he earns a good living. All of this encourages a framework in which a variety of other interests gets drowned. One of these interests in case of the food industry is the health of the population. Many other interests have a greater priority, particularly if the industry as a whole manages to divert attention towards other aspects of life such as tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs, blaming them for all the ills in the world. When eventually faced with irrefutable proof and enormous public pressure the industry is then allowed to regulate, to set standards, tomonitor instead of having to fundamentally change. It is because of this governmental attitude that the standard of food has rapidly sunk to the level it is at nowadays.
What is Quality Food?
Much of the food consumed in the developed world is either manufactured in a laboratory or has undergone a process of preservation. Why does food need preserving?
Food which is just left will "go off" very quickly. This means that it starts to disintegrate. This is a digestive process which is controlled by the food itself. Vegetables and fruits contain enzymes which starts to digest the food from within. It is these enzymes that ensure an easy absorption of the food into our own system. As long as these enzymes are functional the vegetable or fruit will rot on its own accord. In the natural cycle of things this is a necessity in order for the seeds to feed of the fruit to encourage another plant growth, or just to recycle life's building blocks to nourish the soil again. All of this is critical proof that that particular food is alive.
In order to deliver "fresh" food to the consumer we need to ensure that the rotting process is stopped. This is called preserving food. Whatever method is used to preserve food - and these have changed over the years - the aim is at worst to kill off all enzyme activity, at best to slow it down dramatically. This ensures plenty of time to deliver foods across the whole country, or even the world, and to remain beautifully fresh looking fruits and vegetables. All perfect to guarantee a decent profit with minimal waste. However, once the enzymes are killed the food is essentially dead. It now still contains all the enzymes , vitamins and minerals on a chemical level, but the difference is that all of these are now inactivated. So, the internal digestive system, for instance, is not working and therefore the food will become much more difficult to digest and to absorb. The lifeless vitamins will no longer enhance the consumers metabolism as they have now become dead bodies floating around, like dead fish floating upside down on the river surface.
The quality of food can not be measured by it's chemical composition alone. The real strength of quality food lies in the ability to "be alive". It is in the interaction between the liveliness of the food and the liveliness of the consumer that the nourishing takes place. The measured amounts of vitamins and minerals in food is not only a totally useless piece of information, it is also totally senseless. Whatever has been measured in one apple will be totally different in another sort of apple, an apple grown in a different climate, and next years' apple. As science has recently established many fruits sold nowadays contain very little or no vitamins at all. This they have blamed on the early picking of the fruit and the artificially ripening out of the fruit during transport. Consequently, it is essential that the produce is not harvested until it is fully ripe. This process ensures the readiness of the produce for the next step in the natural cycle: the distribution of it's life-powers to either the consumer or the recycling process.The quality of food is only determined by its "liveliness".
Another reason given by the scientists for the poor quality of our fruit and vegetables these days is the poor soil quality in which the crops are grown. Years and years of overproduction, stimulated by monoculture fertilisation has left the soil impoverished. What isn't in the soil cannot be taken up by the plant. As a result the plants are of a poorer nutritional quality, are weaker in their defences and have become greater collectors of "toxins". When essential feeding elements are in short supply the plant will make do with whatever there actually is. In our effort to produce more, to feed the community better, we have pushed the natural environment of plants over the limit, resulting in poor quality of water, soil and produce. But we still manage to make them look like the real thing, or even better. Looks have taken over from quality, because it is looks that sells the product! Your health is not on the priority list.
To Feed the World
But don't forget that we did all that fertilising so we could meet demands. More mouths to feed requires more food to be produced.
The key to that particular part of the puzzle is marketing.
Having identified an enormous potential for profit making, it is essential that one can convince the customer that they have a need to buy. After the second world war the idea of abundance was very appealing to people and economic growth, hand in hand with private prosperity, ensured that people's buying power increased. This is a dream market for the seller provided one can convince the individual that the product one is selling is a mark of his/her wealth. The public needed very little convincing that the richness and diversity of food, the abundance of nourishment, was projecting an image of increasing wealth. Large scale food production began and was encouraged by the authorities (agriculture, milk board, life stock) as there was money to be made, and at the same time it boosted the economy. Anything to stimulate larger crops was used and encouraged; as it still is (cfr. GM crops). Advertising told people what they needed to eat, how good milk was for you and what was considered to be a normal diet as opposed to an impoverished one.
The welfare state generally encourages consumption as that reflects well in their economic figures. Food is no different. So, we eat more because we produced more. Even in those early days there were overproduction problems such as the butter mountain, and milk as well as tomatoes and apples were thrown away because of a collapse in the market. The authorities responded by subsidising the "industry", thereby allowing overproduction to continue in spite of the population already having been overfed.
As the quality of the food items diminishes the amount consumed rises. You can easily verify this. Compare the amount of carton orange juice you consume with the fresh orange juice you drink when in Spain. See how much bread you eat when bought from the supermarket as opposed to the amount you have when it is home baked. Of course, a rise in consumption is good news for the economy, and so overproduction is once again encouraged. The less nutrients there are in the food, the more we are inclined to eat as the body is asking for more nourishment. Unfortunately, the only thing it is going to get is more of the same: poor nutritional rubbish. Yet, as an authority we are not worried because the product is selling well and the economy is booming. And there is nothing to worry about as nobody can link declining health to nutrition. That will take decades before it starts to become evident.
If we could return to a highly nutritional natural product to feed the population with, grown and ripened at home, not imported from around the world, we would soon notice the falling need for forced production. More people will eat less, as long as the food is of a high quality. This means no more, no less, than that the food has to be alive.
Stop using unnatural fertilising methods. All chemicals poison and/or disrupt the environment. When the environment changes, life within it changes, and that includes us. Only we are not as adaptable as most of nature is.
Stop "improving" our food by artificial means. Our food, as produced by nature, does not need improving. Our methods of how to grow, harvest, understand and consume it do.
Stop controlling and centralising food production. Locally grown produce need to be consumed locally. Produce from far away places have no place in our nutrition whatsoever.
Stop killing food. Allow nature to start putting life back into itself.
Encourage quality of food, not the growth of the food industry.
Only allow natural methods to be used in the production of food, and only than in the way nature uses them.
And the ultimate key to all of this is: gain a better understanding of how the whole of nature works, as a unit, as a universe.