It is Organic September so there is no better time for us to look at the food we are eating and evaluate whether it is serving us and our family and where improvements can be made.
Food isn’t just fuel it plays a huge role in protecting your body from the stresses of our environment and providing key nutrients to support our immune system and digestive health.
So ahead of the winter months where we know are much more likely to get ill and run down due to our slower metabolisms, less sunshine and less vitamin rich diets it is time to set some good intentions and potentially make some changes. A great one if making the move to Organic.
I am not sure if you are familiar with Zach Bush, an American doctor, endocrinologist and thought leader on the microbiome who has highlighted the need for a radical departure from chemical farming and pharmacy through his work.
Although USA based he states some scary statistics such as :
“By 2011, our Centre’s of Disease Control (CDC) was reporting 54% of US children with some form of chronic disorder or disease by the age of seventeen.”
“The epidemic is not at all limited to children. In adults a broad array of conditions have been on a steady rise, from depression and anxiety all the way to celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, multiple sclerosis, ALS), Alzheimer’s in women, and Parkinson’s in men.
All on near identical trajectories of increase since 1996.”
We know from our current healthcare crisis in the UK we are facing similar struggles.
Through his work he has begun to reveal the intricacies of the delicate balance between soil, the microbiome, and ourselves. The timeline of our chronic disease epidemic becomes very interesting, and in fact provides a pathway to the recovery toward human health.
Estimates in the USA show they sprayed more than 4.5 billion pounds of glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) into the soils, plants, and water systems of our planet.
In the UK I can only find a statistic from Defra in 2016 that stated
2.5 million hectares in the UK were treated with a total of roughly 2.2 million kilograms of glyphosate which means more than a quarter of the UK’s farmland is being treated with glyphosate! Crazy amounts.
Zach states that “After “Roundup Ready” crops were introduced in the mid-late 1990’s, this water-soluble toxin would subsequently work its way into the water within the grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as infiltrating the groundwater, slowly making its way into rivers, oceans, our air, and ultimately our rainfall. “
When we eat food it ends up in our gut so it makes sense that this area of our body that is responsible not only for our digestion but a large proportion of our mental/ nervous system health and immune system gets hit hard.
So how does it do that? ( bit technical)
In the intestines, glyphosate directly damages the connective proteins that maintain the structure of the cell, and the cohesive nature of the gut and vascular membranes. It damages the epithelial tight junction tissue on contact, weakening the barriers that protect us on the inside from the barrage of other environmental toxins to which we are exposed. Injury to the tight junction membrane in the gut can lead to intestinal permeability otherwise known as “leaky gut”.
Like the gliadin protein from gluten, glyphosate acts through zonulin-mediated pathways to damage the tight junction system. Zonulin can then go systemic to affect the extracellular matrix and tight junction systems throughout the body; injury to the tight junction membrane in the vascular system of the blood-brain barrier can result in the host of neurological symptoms typical with gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease.
Essentially once the gut is permeable these toxins can get all round the body and damage the most precious areas of our body such as the brain.
I know from personal experience that even as someone who reacts badly to gluten if I eat a very pure organic wheat flour sourdough in most situations, I am fine but if you gave me a non-organic white loaf to eat I would suffer. Often one ingredient gets singled out as a culprit but when we think that we have eaten various forms of wheat for hundreds of years it makes far more sense that what we have done with it, how we have corrupted it is far more responsible for our health that we realise.
It also means that more that ever it is not enough to just follow an ingredient driven diet and that knowing and understanding how something is grown, and where its grown can be far more relevant for our health and the health of our environment.
Any acute inflammatory response becomes chronic inflammation over time as your system is overwhelmed with toxins from the outside world which are not dealt with or removed. Sadly Glyphosphate isn’t the ony pesticide and envirnoemtnal toxin we deal with but it is one of the worst and as Samsel A writes (Seneff S. Entropy. 2013: 15(4): 1416-1463)
Glyphosate enhances the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and environmental toxins. Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body.
I am sorry if this blog feels a bit doom and gloom. I haven’t meant it to be but sometimes if we are going to make a real shift we have to really hear the facts. And in this case I think you will agree they are pretty shocking and caused by something many of us probably still have in our garden shed!
There is a solution though. That is Regenerative agriculture. If you haven’t read my blog on the subject you can find it here.
Returning to organic farming and indeed trying to grow as much food yourself is where we need to move to. Asking questions being inquisitive and reminding ourselves we are what we eat so lets eat the best we can!