Chapter 5

Effect on Human Health

Right feeding is the biggest single factor in good health -- but the food must be right in quality as well as quantity. (From Organic Gardening -- Rodale Press, U.S.A.)

These words are taken from the Daily Mail, written by the Radio Doctor, a well-known voice on the air.

'Good health' -- the feeling of wholeness, not the negative: 'I don't feel ill', but the positive, radiant, good health affecting body, mind and spirit.

Modern statistics show how rare it is.

From America: 'More than 4,000,000 -- i.e. one-third of its young draftees, were rejected, as physically or mentally unfit': and again: '95 per cent of Americans need some dental treatment'. (From Organic Gardening -- Rodale Press, U.S.A.)

The Peckham Health Centre, known as the 'Peckham Experiment', has published some startling facts. (From The Peckham Experiment, by I. Pearse and L. Crocker, George Allen and Unwin.) The Health Centre is a family club, under the supervision of medical and biological experts. The conditions of membership include a periodic ' ' overhaul of the entire family, with a service for subsequent consultation and advice. Social and recreative activities form an integral part of the scheme. The members were a cross-cut section of the community, and therefore a fair sample of the national health.

The statistics are startling:

Out of 500 families examined only 9 per cent of the individuals were 'healthy', i.e. 'without disorder'.

Out of a second list of 500, taken at random from a total of 1,206 families examined, only 10 per cent were healthy.

Pretty grim figures! What is wrong?

In The Labouring Earth, Mr. Alma Baker pointed out that general ill health was not confined to man. It is prevalent in domestic animals, and cultivated plants. If' men were ill, and stock were healthy, or if animals were diseased and plants had good health, there would be no common ground for judgment. But as all three lack good health, there must be a common cause. Unhesitatingly he states that the common cause is the soil. (The Labouring Earth, by C. Alma Baker, Heath Cranton.)

Again it is common sense! A devitalized soil cannot produce vital plants, and as the plant is the foundation of all food, whether animal or vegetable, if the plant is deficient in vitality all suffer alike.

Vitality is the one thing that man cannot give, clever chemist as he is.

There are many synthetic foods on the market to-day. Chemically speaking they may be perfect, but -- I wonder! Have they life? Vitality? If not, they cannot give it. To my mind, there is only one way of testing food, and that is testing it on life. It can't be judged by the chemist's test-tube, or even by the immediate response of the human body; it may act as a dope, or a stimulant. Its feeding properties can only be judged by its effect on living entities, viz.: the white rats and other animals of the biologist's laboratory and a long-term test on human beings.

If such a test were made obligatory for all synthetic food -- yes, and all artificially-fed vegetables -- the safety of human health would be better guarded.

In Your Daily Bread (by Doris Grant -- Faber and Faber), a delightful book, full of wisdom, knowledge, stories, and a keen sense of humour, the author says: 'Why cannot man leave good food alone? It seems impertinence on his part to think he can improve on the wonderfully intricate and involved designs of Nature by processing, bleaching, refining, de-vitaminizing, by taking live things out and putting dead things back, most of all by separating the wholeness of foods. We are finding only too surely that this interference brings sooner or later its own penalties. In fact, it has been said that neglect or contempt of natural laws is the sole cause of all our misfortunes'.

'Our misfortunes!' One of the foremost of our national worries is the low birth-rate. It hastened its downward grade in 1872 when the roller mills destroyed the wheat germ-and white bread came into being.

'The wheat germ oil contains Vitamin E. Vitamin E encourages fertility.' (Your Daily Bread)

One of the major surprises of the home front has been the steady rise in the birth-rate since the war started. May not the reason be that the 85 per cent national loaf includes the wheat germ?

This belief has been strengthened by the issue of the latest quarterly birth-rate statistics (September 1945). For the first time since 1942 the return shows a fall instead of a rise. Why? Last year, during the summer of 1944, the 85 per cent loaf was reduced to 82.5 per cent and later to 80 per cent. The difference in the bread has been obvious. It is now white, poor, and completely unsatisfying. We 'eat and eat, seeking for something that is not there'.

The change has caused grave anxiety amongst scientists and doctors, and was the subject of a lively debate in the House of Lords in February 1945. The debate, led by Lord Teviot, was deeply interesting. It touched many subjects from national health, in all its aspects, to the fertility of stock. It was barely reported in the Press, but it has been printed in full in the June issue of 'The Compost News Letter'. (The Compost News Letter, Hon. Sec.: Dr. L. Picton, Saddlers Close, Holmes Chapel, Cheshire.) It is well worth reading. It reveals the details of the debasement of the loaf. I believe this debasement to be the immediate cause of the present decline in the birthrate. The following figures, gathered from The Times of 28th September 1945, confirm this belief.

In 1941 the birth-rate had dropped to 669,000. Between 1942 and 1944 it rose by 174,000. This rise coincides with the general use of the 85 per cent loaf. In the summer of 1944 the loaf was debased to 82.5 per cent and later to 80 per cent, and (I repeat) the quarterly birth-rate return of September 1945 records the first fall since the introduction of the 85 per cent loaf. (Official statistics of the numbers of poultry and pigs show a steady decrease till 1944, when both started a definite and startling rise. This again is no coincidence, once more the children's bread is being Cgiven unto the swine'.) This fact must be more than a coincidence. There are, of course, other contributory factors; one, that is generally accepted, is Nature's reaction to widespread destruction of life by the urge to create life in wartime, but this is not borne out by the facts of the 1914-18 war when the loss of life was heavier than the loss in the last war; the birth-rate in World War I dropped continuously during the war and only rose for a short period when it ended. One thing is certain. Nature is swift to respond or retaliate as man keeps or breaks her vital laws. Bread has not been called the 'Staff of Life' for nothing.

Surely in the name of common sense and national health, whole-meal bread will be obligatory in the future and the acknowledged peril of a falling birth-rate will be stopped.

Add to devitalized plants and denatured food, the long list of poison sprays used as insecticides and fungicides. Arsenic, a deadly poison, is widely used as an insecticide. It has caused the death of millions of bees, is a menace to pollination and a loss to bee-keepers. Apples sprayed with arsenic are on the market, and much latent, yes, and active ill health must be caused by this insidious poison. Another danger is copper sulphate, used in Burgundy mixture for potatoes and tomatoes with the advice 'to wipe tomatoes before sending them to table!' There are many other poisons thus used.

Again it is common sense. If a poisonous remedy is strong enough to kill a pest, it is strong enough to harm a human being: not kill, but undermine his health: to say nothing of the harm done to the myriads of unseen soil workers, for no poison is wise enough to kill the pest, and spare the friend. All perish alike, to the detriment of the fertility of the soil. Feed the plant with natural humus, and it will give, as it was meant to give, full vitality to mankind.

Now for the other side of the picture. Are there any definite examples of improved health arising from fertile soil? There are -- plenty. Examples have been given in The Living Soil, by E. Balfour, the most outstanding and constructive book on the subject. Here are a few others:

A well-known landowner in Surrey adopted a system of composting, in place of artificial manures. The produce was given to pigs and poultry, with the following results:

  1. Mortality among new-born stock practically ceased.
  2. General health of the stock improved
  3. A reduction of 10 per cent in the ration was obtained because of the satisfying power of the home-grown produce.

A large school with both day boys and boarders started the Indore method of composting for their vegetables, instead of using artificial manures. The results were both interesting and satisfactory.

Before the change-over, the school had suffered from epidemics of colds, measles, scarlet fever, and the like. After the adoption of compost-fed vegetables, illness was confined to sporadic cases, brought in from outside. In short, the disease resistance noticed in the plants was repeated in the humans who ate them. The 'common cause' is 'the fertile soil'.

In my own experience, several Q.R. compost users have written about the amazing improvement in the health of themselves and their households, since they started using the compost.

I have noticed the same improvement in my personal friends again and again -- after a few weeks' visit.

Here is another story.

At the Anthroposophical farm in Holland, the produce was sent to customers direct, and by a specialized system of delivery and order. Costs were higher than the current market prices. In time a certain family demurred at the extra price, and returned to the market stall. After some time they came back to their old allegiance, saying they had had to pay so much in doctors' bills since eating the market stuff, that it more than counterbalanced the higher prices paid for vital food!

These are a few of the practical effects. But the tide of public opinion is slowly rising, and with the weight of medical statements, and growing conviction, the truth will have to be faced that indeed:

Right feeding is the biggest single factor in good health, but the food must be right in quality as well as quantity.

6. The Activator

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