Nutrition begins with Soil

Just finished reading an article on Mercola.com that prompted me to post this…is a subject I covered somewhat in my equine nutrition book although I did not refer to it specifically as “biological farming”, nor did I go into it to this depth, which is something I’ve wanted to do for some time.  These same principles apply to animal health as well as human health – we are all dependent upon the soil to grow food that nourishes us on all levels, regardless of whether we eat just vegetables or include meat and/or animal products in our diet.  All life on this planet is connected – we seem to forget that in the one-eyed reductionist mentality that permeates modern science.

Our nutrition begins with the soil…the plants growing in the soil are consumed by humans either directly or indirectly via meat and animal products.  Conventional farming methods concentrate only on yield, this methodology cares nothing for the “food source” of the crops themselves; that aspect is considered irrelevant.  Andre Voisin said (1):

The “dust” of our cells is the dust of the soil.  We should frequently meditate on the words of Ash Wednesday:  “Man, remember that you are dust and that you will return to dust.”  This is not merely a religious and philosophical doctrine but a great scientific truth which should be engraved above the entrance to every Faculty of Medicine throughout the world. … If these “dusts” have been wrongly assembled in plant, animal or human cells, the result will be the imperfect functioning of the latter.

I honestly don’t know how we have “forgotten” that plants are living organisms that have relationships with their environment – yes, plants do communicate!  I posted a fascinating video a while back about how plants “talk” – see it here.  I suppose it is the ego-based attitude that humans can not only control nature but can do things better than nature can.  Unfortunately we are in the midst of a rude awakening about that – at least some of us are.  Several enlightened individuals such as William Albrecht, Carey Reams, Rudolf Steiner (and Goethe before him), Lady Eve Balfour, Sir Albert Howard, Weston A. Price, and more recently Harvey Lisle, Michael Astera, Jerry Brunetti, and others have been writing, practicing, and teaching about the link between soil health and our health, and how that link influences virtually all of life.  Almost all of these people were/are scientists who had/have the capability of “seeing” phenomenological relationships…even if they might not have used those terms (except for Goethe & Steiner who certainly did).  Yet they are shunned by “allopathic” science as not being “real”.  I do not disregard mainstream reductionist science as do many “holistic” practitioners/teachers, because I understand (as did Goethe, Steiner, et al) that you have to be able to break the whole down into its parts in order to be able to then actually “see” the whole.  It is not a “sum of the parts is greater than the whole” as much of holistic science would have you believe; nor does each individual part work by itself as mainstream science would have you believe.  The truth lies in the relationship of the parts to the whole.  So it is exciting to me when I read articles (or books) such as this that demonstrate this kind of “seeing” – this kind of conscious awakening.

Now…I am going to go out on a limb here and say something that most of you reading this will likely disagree with – at least at first blush.  Organically grown food is NOT necessarily more nutritious than conventionally grown food.  What???  You must be insane!  Before you virtually tar and feather me, read on.  There is absolutely no doubt that organically grown food is better than food that has been sprayed with chemicals.  But…most organic growers concentrate on building soil tilth – I know, I used to be a small commercial organic grower and was rather active at one point in my local organic association (before the USDA “bought” the word organic).  There is nothing wrong with building humus in the soil; the problem is humus alone does not provide nutrition for the plants growing in that soil.  And the whole concept of “organic” is actually a negative one inasmuch as it considers what is NOT in your food (pesticides, herbicides, etc).  What I have come to realize is that we are missing very key elements in our food.  Why do you think the supplement industry is so huge?  Our soils are depleted.  What most people don’t realize is what they are depleted of.  Minerals, plain and simple.  Minerals cannot be added back by simply tilling in the fall crop of leaves or compost or what-have-you.  Yes, there may be some elements that are added back…but by and far the soils at least in this country (if not most of the developed world) have been so heavily farmed without ever putting back what was taken out that there is nothing left.  Why do you think conventional agriculture tends to keep such a strong-hold on our food supply?  Yes, there are many other factors involved, but the bottom line is you can produce a more “nutritious” vegetable by directly feeding the plant – according to lab analysis.  What is missing from this picture however is the quality and how the nutrients are utilized by the body – lab analyses only give you quantities.  All of us in the animal world – humans included – were designed to ingest our minerals that have been assimilated first by the plant kingdom.  Plain and simple.  Minerals are the electromagnetic means of communication between the soil and the plant kingdom.  Remember what I said above that it is more the relationship between entities than it is the entities themselves that drive responses?  It is the relationship between the plant and the soil that dictates what the plant will become – a purveyor of health or simply something to ingest.  Taking and taking, never giving back = depletion.

Samuel Hahnemann gave us a medical system over two centuries ago called Heilkunst, or “art of healing” in a rather crude translation.   Within that he recognized certain “miasms” or chronic, many times inherited diseases.  Those that have worked to bring his medical system into present times have recognized the “cancer” miasm, which is a state of mentality more so than the conventional diagnosis of tumor (although the mental state can certainly lead to tumors).  The mental state of cancer is one of continuously giving – we can characterize it by the person that continually gives and gives until her physical and spiritual bodies are totally depleted.  If the soil keeps giving and giving without having the opportunity to replenish itself – what do you think it will produce?  Cancerous causing products.

Harvey Lisle called minerals the “enlivened rock powders”.  Why?  Because they give life.  The soil replenishes itself slowly by the breakdown of rocks.  The advent of agriculture put pressures upon this process that would eventually cause severe depletion if these minerals (“rocks”) were not replaced – at state which we have now realized.  It is not, at least in my opinion, that so-called “modern” agriculture is a bad thing, it is human greed and inflated ego that has kept us from “seeing” our responsibility.  The soil, the plant life, the animal life…are all available to us to utilize as we need – and that is the key…use as needed.  In a loving caring, nurturing way.  However we treat the soil, we treat ourselves.

 

(1)  Quote from front matter of The Enlivened Rock Powders, Harvey Lisle, 1994, Acres USA.

 

 

 

Connecting the Dots: GMOs and Vaccines | Re-posted from GreenMedInfo

Humans suffer from hubris – we think we know better than nature, can fix it, manipulate it, and master it. There are (at least) two major transgressions that follow similar patterns, raise important red flags, and most certainly do not pass the sniff test: GMOs (genetically modified “foods”) and vaccination.  (Dr. Kelly Brogan)

Read Article Here

 

 

 

Chickweed

Go figure – chickweed is actually an equine delicacy!  I had notice Maisy eating it every chance she got over a period of a few days this spring.  This is from the April 2013 Natural Horse Newsletter (wonder if you can make an essential oil out of it??? :-):

 

Chickweed – Stellaria media by Katharine Chrisley of Dharma Horse

Chickweed is a creeping herb with tiny white flowers. It is entirely edible for all animals (although it can be too rich for some if eaten fresh and abundantly!). It is considered a cancer-preventing herb and a premier healer of the digestive tract. It is fed to arthritic horses and used to reduce lipoma/fatty tumors.

 

Chickweed nourishes the Pineal and Pituitary glands, helping them return to normal function when afflicted. It is full of the mineral – organic Iron – which is necessary for all mammals to transport oxygen and maintain youthfulness. Food additives/preservatives deplete iron from the body which causes anemia, lung and circulatory damage, blood sugar imbalances and weakness. Mothers, equine and human, can be low in iron (especially after giving birth) and it should be returned to the body through a gentle, organic mode.

 

Chickweed is a mild herb used to gradually return health to tissues and the whole plant can be fed fresh or dried; or a tea can be made from the dried herb. I feed a half cup of the dry, cut and sifted herb in a mash once daily for mares who need it. I drink a cup of prepared tea for myself when feeling weak. An infused oil can be made by warming the herb into olive oil for use externally on swollen joints, tumors or fatty deposits.

Zoopharmacognosy

It’s been known for decades that animals such as chimpanzees seek out medicinal herbs to treat their diseases. But in recent years, the list of animal pharmacists has grown much longer, and it now appears that the practice of animal self-medication is a lot more widespread than previously thought, according to ecologists.  Source:  U of Michigan, Apr 11, 2013

Read Full Article Here

Zoopharmacognosy is a term used to describe the process by which non-human animals self-medicate.  In the domestic equine world this is a very difficult thing for the horse to accomplish as his world is typically very manipulated.  However horses in a natural environment are perfectly capable of doing this.  Daniel Janzen first observed this behavior in various wild animal species in 1978.  It is an important behavior function for parasite control and general health – the domestic horse can be kept in such an environment!

Applied zoopharmacognosy can be done on a case-by-case basis, using plant extracts and/or essential oils.  Carolyn Ingraham in the UK has been instrumental in bringing a scientific approach to this discipline.

The book, Wild Health: How Animals Keep Themselves Well and What We Can Learn From Them, by Cindy Engel is a good read on this subject.

Zoopharmacognosy-Self Medication in Wild Animals-Raman et al

A Forage-Only Diet for Young Horses in Training Evaluated

The preference, of course, is to see the foal with the dam outside grazing a mixed species pasture – and not in a stall being fed hay.  The hay can be fed ad lib.  And then there are the issues of how the horse is being “used”.  Nevertheless, at least the industry is beginning to realize that moving away from concentrate and fortified feeds is a good thing, and that can be translated into some amount of progress!

The Horse.com:  Jan 11, 2013 • Article #31192

 

 

Feeding the Senior Horse

(This is an excerpt from my book, Equine Nutrition: From a Species Appropriate Perspective; please note this applies to both genders even though I use the masculine here for the biggest part.)

Senior status is variable among breeds and even individual horses within breeds, though most people consider a horse 20+/- to be senior.  But that doesn’t mean the horse is “old” with regard to capability.  There are plenty of 30+ year olds that can run circles around the human; and in fact I have one living with me!  We should go by the signs of aging rather than the actual age.  With regard to nutritional requirements, the senior horse has no physiological differences from the younger adult.  A horse 15-20 years old may begin to lose some teeth; as well, the horse that is 25+ years may begin to show issues with masticating food properly and we may see signs of “quidding”.  The evidence of quidding of forage will be boluses of food dropped from the horse’s mouth.  The longer the horse has spent his life allowed a species appropriate diet, meaning free access to forage only, the less dental issues the horse will have going into advancing age, given no other health issues.  But because of the horse’s hypsodont dentition, it is highly recommended that the senior horse continue to have at least an annual dental checkup and may need to be done twice yearly in some situations.

There is never any need to remove the older horse from pasture, even if he starts to quid the grass.  He will still be getting some nutrients, although he will need to be supplemented; additionally the action of masticating is a biological requirement, just as it is with any horse.  There will come a point that the older horse will not be able to masticate long-stem dry hay; at this time (preferably before he starts to lose condition) weaning him onto a chopped haylage product is an excellent way for the horse to obtain nutrients that he would not get otherwise.  Soaked hay cubes are another excellent feed for the senior horse, although some owners are reluctant to feed soaked hay cubes because of the perceived time “cost”.  I personally have done so and found that if I simply put the cubes into soak while doing barn chores, the “extra” time required is virtually nil.  There is no reason to not feed both soaked hay cubes and chopped haylage; the haylage can be fed free choice and the soaked hay cubes can become a “meal”.  In this way, between the pasture and the haylage, the horse is still allowed to trickle feed as desired and the forage “meal” should present no digestive issues; it is also an excellent opportunity to provide appropriate nutrient supplementation to assist the naturally decreasing digestive functions of the aging horse.  As with any forage, the hay cubes should be of high quality.  Typically one finds hay cubes in either timothy or alfalfa, or a mix of both.  Which to feed will depend upon the individual horse and the availability in the local area.  Some people will recommend soaked beet pulp over hay cubes.  In a perfect world, I have no adversity to recommending beet pulp.  However, the unavoidable fact is that most commercially grown sugar beets (the type of beet that is generally used for beet pulp; and no, beet pulp is not loaded with sugar) are GMO crops.  Even if they are not genetically modified, the method for kill-down on the beet tops (the greens) in order to harvest the beets (the root of the plant) is to use herbicide spray.  Exactly how much herbicide is going to be taken up by the root – the beet – is a variable factor that will depend upon the exact chemical compound used and its half-life.  Finding organically grown beet pulp is practically impossible (if someone has a source, this author would be very interested in knowing it).  This simply is not a risk I personally am willing to take.  This is not to say that the hay grown for the hay cubes has not had herbicide applied to the field, although it is generally not applied as often to hay fields as it is to commercial beet crops.  It may be quite possible to find a hay cube product that is at least somewhat sustainably grown, at least easier than finding organic beet pulp!