Adapting to the food crisis?
Learning how to adapt to the food crisis is the most important skill we can teach our kids. That means understanding how the world is changing then helping them change their behaviour to adapt.
The forthcoming food crisis won’t come from a shortage of food but food with an excess of energy – sugars and fats – but also lacking the essential nutrients to regenerate our body parts. These empty calories make us fat and sick, reduce our life span but significantly reduce our health span – how long we remain fit and active.
We are deluged, particularly on the internet, with promotions of food, pills and magic solutions which will they claim will make us healthy. Their motivation is profit so how do we know what actually make us healthy – a complex topic we try and cover in the article.
Education the key
Kids at school
Like climate change this is ‘here and now’ and going to get a lot worse in the future so we need to educate the next generation – the current kids – so they have the knowledge and skills to deal with this.
That’s the motivation for the school garden project which is more than learning to grow a few vegetables, it is learning to adapt to the new world.
This article is written as a reference for teachers and parents who need a technical resource to handle the exponential changes that are shaking the very foundations of human society as our technologies give us unprecedented capacity but overwhelm the resources of our planet so we need to change from exploitation to a recycling.
This article totally contradicts the modern fashion of three word slogans and is a serious analysis of the problems our species has to overcome for us to thrive and live in a compassionate caring society.
Sorry about that! But I hope you persevere and read. If you just want practical guide on setting up school beds there are plenty of articles on this site.
Evolution – a slow business
Understanding how evolution works is key to appreciating how our bodies actually works.
Our bodies are complex, we still don’t fully understand how they work but by studying how we have evolved we can gain a good insight.
We have been evolving for millions of years. Evolution is a very slow process but is is crucial our kids understand how evolution works – even if we have to teach them by letting them learn by osmosis by playing in the dirt.
It depends on random variation – if a particular variant is beneficial it may proliferate by beneficial breeding until it become dominant. A much more complex concept than survival of the fittest which is a gross over simplification of what evolution is all about.
It is not about the biggest and strongest winning it is about preferential breeding – ask the maggots in my compost bin who are neither particularly big or strong but are highly successful breeders. Left to themselves they would breed swarms of pesky flies which would drive my wife crazy so I have to change the environment in my composting system so the flies don’t breed like crazy.
Honestly I have no idea how to formally teach kids the principles of evolution and preferential breeding but if they see it in action in a school garden they will get it.
Evolution is a slow business taking many generations to change the genes, I have seen figures of one thousand generations for a gene change but the recent science of epigenetics, the study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself is much more rapid but there is an even faster and more controllable method – adaptation.
If there is one skill that our kids must learn it is the skill of adaptation – this is far more important that the STEM subjects which are the focus of modern education.
Just turn on the news, any news, and you will watch a continuous saga of calamities around the world, whether it is it some cruel military style dictator, some oligarch who is a would be dictator, some extremist group, women protesting for change or that hoary chestnut climate change – all totally different but with a single common theme – people failing to adapt to the world changing.
Learning how to adapt is the most important skill we can teach our kids. That means understanding how the world is changing then helping them change their behaviour to adapt.
There are numerous ways the world is changing but there are two that stand out.
The first is the vast amount of very clever but manipulative pseudo information we are bombarded with – particularly on the internet. That is the subject of my video food, facts and fibs.
The second is our food. We have evolved to eat food which is relatively low in energy – sugar and fats but high in nutrients. That is what we have evolved over millions of years to eat.
Modern food is exactly the opposite high in sugars and fats but low in nutrients. I don’t know about you but in my part of the world we don’t have pizzas and cheese cake growing on trees – and we just love them – it is in our genes. We have to learn that this is not the diet we have evolved to eat and learn to adapt.
The Gbiota bed technology was developed to provide us with food which feed our microbiome but we need to ask how ‘do we know it works’ – such a simple question with a complex answer.
Does it work?
The primary input for Gbiota beds is recycled food and green waste which already contains some nutrients. To make this decompose in a reasonable time frame we add animal manure which again contains nutrients. We may need to add a bit of Dolomite to balance the PH and finally we add Biomin a combination of rock dust and biology which contains the essential trace elements like chromium, selenium, iodine etc.
This gives us a soil which is loaded with nutrients but all those nutrients in the soil don’t do us any good until they enter our blood stream so they reach our bits that need regenerating.
This is what I call the soil blood pathway – how the nutrients get from the soil and into our blood – something I find really fascinating – something that the school teachers need to understand so they can explain this to the kids – but unless you are seriously into bugs can be either boring or a bit off putting.
I know we live in an age of instant gratification and three word slogan but our bodies have been evolving for millions of years so there is no simple slogan but I will try and make it as interesting as I can.
Simple energy foods
How do we know if our food is nutritious? There are many sophisticated scientific measurements we can take but the answer may be much easier than we think
The human body is remarkable. It can burn almost any sort of food, fat, sugars meat, vegetables almost anything including our own body fat and muscles to burn to provide essential energy.
Basically as long as it contains carbon and hydrogen it can burn it to provide energy and just exhausts carbon dioxide and water.
Our bodies can provide remarkable amounts of power in short burst but we quickly get tired so our ability to provide long term power is pretty miserable, overshadowed by a simple lawn mower and totally dwarfed by a modern car which can generate the power of some 700 people. We just need any old energy food.
We are not a great power source.
Regenerating our body bits
But the really remarkable thing about our bodies is that it can use the food to grow our bodies when we are young and then continue to use food to replace our body parts. When they say – he is not the man (or woman – mustn’t get sexist here) he used to be – they are dead right – we replace many of our body parts hundred of times in our lives.
That is something my lawn mower or car cannot do – bodies are really pretty smart.
But to do that we need some really complex chemicals. These originate largely in the soil (and a smaller amount from water plants). Some of these complex chemicals created directly in the soil will enter the plants and we eat directly so thy enter our blood stream and go about their job of fixing us up. B12 is a classic example of a complex chemical produced by fungi living in the soil.
You can read all about the wonders of B12 here, that’s if you are interested in what keeps you blood cells, nerves and DNA healthy.
Others will come from animals which eat plants (or other animals if you are into Cheetah pie) and create the complex chemicals we need in their bodies.
Widely reported deficits in a modern diet
Elements needed by plants
Elements available from the air or water
carbon, oxygen, hydrogen
Primary elements from the soil
N, P, K
Ca, Mg, S
Widely reported dietary deficits
Elements needed by plants but we may need higher doses
Ca, Mg, Zn, Fe, Cu
Essential extra elements needed for health
Selenium, Iodine, Vanadium, Chromium
Vitamins humans are generally short of
Omega 3, B12, B6, E, K
Generally animals have much better systems for creating these complex chemicals, for example most animals can make their own Vitamin C but we either missed out in the evolutionary battle or we simply lost the magic touch – who knows? But the result is the same – we can eat the animals that make the complex chemicals for us.
Or if we don’t want to eat animals we can eat food, typically plants which contain the raw material for making these complex chemicals, and the highly sophisticated biology in our guts, the micro biome (Gbiota for short) acts as a super sophisticated chemical factory to make the complex chemicals we need for building our bodies.
I’m Hungry (or full)
The human gut is a pretty remarkable contraption, it is intelligent and controls our appetite so we eat enough – but not too much, it looks after our immune system – much of the food we eat is full of pathogens which our immune system just deals with so we never even think there is a problem and it also makes many of the complex chemicals we need to build and rebuild our bodies.
We really should pat ourselves on our tummies and say – ‘well done down there’.
But as clever as our guts are they cannot work unless we give them the right raw ingredients – gut food.
This starts in the soil and must contain the essential ingredients, not just the main ones we think about nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium or even the regular minerals like calcium sodium, chlorine, magnesium etc but the trace minerals like selenium, iodine and chromium.
We can make sure that all these are in the soil – as part of the Gbiota technology we add these minerals so we can be sure they are in the soil – that is the easy bit. But those mineral have to go from the soil and into the plants, then into our guts so they can be processed and finally into our blood where they can be distributed around our bodies.
Soil blood pathway
This is the soil blood pathway which is essential for life but how do we know if it is working properly?
Our story starts in the soil and we can easily use scientific equipment – like mass spectrometers – to measure the minerals and nutrients in the soil. Do that on the soil in a Gbiota bed and everything looks great – but this is Chapter 1 in a thriller and the crime hasn’t even been committed – yet.
The first snag is that all those essential minerals we have added from our rock dust are in the form of insoluble minerals which the plants cannot absorb. That is why we add biology to the rock dust but it gets even more complicated.
If you read the literature on plants you will see that certain plants contain particularly high amounts of certain minerals – for example water cress is very high in iron and Broccoli is very high in chromium.
This guy has a thing about chromium
You may think in reading all my blogs I have bit of a thing about chromium – and you would be right. My wife is a doctor and became diabetic which should not happen as doctors should know everything there is to know about diabetes – after all it is the world most rapidly increasing disease.
They may do but they are not so hot on food which is the real cause of the current diabetes epidemic.
And chromium is one of the key minerals in controlling diabetes so when they talked about chopping her food off when it started to turn black from diabetes I got this thing about chromium. OK I am a bit obsessive about food in general and chromium in particular but we changed her diet and she still has her foot. All that advice about how good modern prosthetic didn’t cut the mustard.
Don’t go to the scrap yard
I know that you wouldn’t even think about going to the scrap yard and biting into an old grill or fender of a scrap car but I am trying to make what could be a very dull and boring subject a bit lighter.
The reason why you have the good sense not to spend your Saturday afternoon munching into a bit of chromium plated scrap is that chromium is a very resistant metal, it does not rust and even stops regular steel going rusty – as was discovered by accident when some metallurgist trying to make steel stronger visited the rubbish bins in his lab and found these specimens bright and shinny when all the others had gone rusty. Lucky man!
We need the biology
Have no doubt about it – we need biology to break down the rocks to make soil.
No biology – no soil – no people. Thanks you friendly bugs.
So now we can see that the biology breaks down the minerals and makes them soluble so they are available to the plants.
We know that these mineral and mineral salts get into the plant by osmosis, e.g. weaker solutions always move towards a stronger solution. That is why if you over fertilise you kill the plants by the strong solution extracting all the water from the plant roots.
The broccoli and water cress puzzle
But why is it that you just think you understand something and it all seems so simple then along comes another issue that blows your thinking right out of the water.
As far as I know osmosis is just a simple physical force which has no preference for broccoli or water cress. So how can we explain that broccoli is full of chromium and water cress if full of iron.
And the answer is so simple and if it were not true then you and I and all the other people and creatures on this earth would not exist – so I would put that in the ‘important’ category.
The simple fact is that plants and the soil bugs form what must be the most important synergistic relationship for life on the planet. Which is a technical way of saying that plants and soil bugs are great mates and two heads are better than one.
What happens is that the soil bugs need energy – they simply can’t work without that bit of a pick me up like my morning coffee. The plants need minerals to grow which are there in abundance in the soil but the plants cannot access them because they are not soluble so they can’t get into the plants roots.
So the plants tried a bit of bribery and gave the soil bugs some energy by exuding (squirting out) sugars in the hope that the soil bug would take the hint and dissolve the rocks into soluble food, something the soil bugs, particularly the fungi, are very good at doing. (read more here).
Now for some particular reason, and I have no idea why, it seem that broccoli decided to put out a sugar which chromium hunting bugs really like so broccoli is full of chromium and water cress had a bit of an iron fetish so exuded sugars the iron hunting bugs really liked.
So now we have the chromium salts going into broccoli and iron salts going into water cress.
Along for the ride
And as I have said you just think you understand something then another issues comes along and blows your thinking right out of the water.
Because the micro biology in the soil are incredibly small they can sneak a ride along with the chromium and iron salts and enter the plant roots and soon are all over the plant.
I told you a the beginning that some people may not like this story as it is a bit yukky but the simple fact is that when you eat a plant, particularly if it is young and fresh, that is is full of minute little bugs.
Which is really very good news, because all wrapped up in their protective plant they can pass right though the acid in our stomachs and into the lower levels of our guts where all sorts of important thing happen.
Our intelligent guts
All those cells in which make up our gut microbiota (Gbiota) actually talk to each other so they work like a computer having actual intelligence, about the brain size of a cat they tell me but I not sure whether that is good or bad. But what I do know is that our gut brain talks to our head brain and really controls our body doing a number of really important things.
The first thing it does is decide whether we have had enough to eat. But it is a bit smarter than saying are you full or empty – it looks at the type of food and says ‘hey we are missing a bit of this or that and send out message to eat some more – even though we are already actually quite full.
And it will keep on sending out these signals until it sees that there is that bit of this or that which was missing.
It is really trying to help us, after all it has had a few million years to learn that it pays to look after us.
The snag with modern food is that it is totally abnormal for the way we have evolved. Back in the times before they invented mobile phones (well even longer than that) our food had lots of nutrients but not much energy (sugars and fats) so we just crave sugars and fats.
So as soon as our bodies sends out messages that we are hungry go eat some more – then our natural instinct is to hit the bicky or so called health bar bin. Net result we end up fat with all the health problems.
The other thing that our guts do is to stop all those bad bugs, which are everywhere, doing us any real harm. Every time we breath a lot of bad bugs come in with the air, but the biggest source of bad bugs is in our food which goes right to our guts.
And low and behold our immune system working with our guts is just lying in wait for these bad bugs and donks them on the head before they do us any harm.
This happens every time we eat and is so normal that it is probably not a good topic for a Ph.D.
The last thing the gut does is operate an extremely sophisticated chemical factory. I mentioned that chromium ( and iron for that matter) is not soluble in their metallic forms and have to be converted to a soluble form to be absorbed by a plant.
I have already given examples of when you think you understand something and along come something that blows away your thinking and make you realise you don’t understand what is happening at all.
This is exactly what happens with these trace minerals. It seems that with these trace minerals that it is not enough just to have the mineral – it has to be in a very specific chemical form.
For example it certainly seems that the supplement manufactures have decided that chromium picolinate is the answer. The problem is that in many large scale tests it seems that is does not work at all in helping diabetes at all – yet people who have a very low level of chromium are very prone to diabetes (have high blood sugars) all very confusing.
Boring old calcium
Now take a boring old mineral like calcium which may be boring but strengthens our bones, without it we would be just a floppy jelly fish being carried around in a bucket.
It is no good just munching on a bit of chalk and hoping to have strong bones, we need the right calcium compound and we need also need vitamin D to activate the calcium.
The balance of chemicals is really important, too much of one mineral like sodium means that potassium is suppressed. This nutrition stuff gets really pretty complicated – however did we manage to survive before we had nutritionist to advice us?
Now that sounds a really silly silly question but as I will show later is really a very good question. Keep reading and I will tell you the answer.
But here is something to ponder – these nutritionist tell us to loose weight we should eat less and exercise more – and it simply does not work – we are fatter than ever. So does that mean we should use a Monty Python type logic and actually eat more to loose weight.
Well before you race off and start writing a Monty Python comedy sketch let me tell you the answer is actually yes – but it has to be the right sort of food. (Search for Mr Creasote).
So what to do? We do know that for the millions of years we have been evolving that our guts have been evolving too working out what complex chemicals we actually need.
It is only since we swapped from a low energy high nutrient diet to a high energy low nutrient diet that the diabetes has become an epidemic.
The nasty catch
But nature has set a nasty trap for us. We can measure the nutrient content in the soil – dead easy – farmers are doing it all the time. We can measure the nutrient content in the plants grown in the soil – not a big issue. And that may lead us to believe that the food is highly nutritious – which it technically correct.
But it does not tell us it eating that food will lead to us becoming healthy, that depends on our guts biology, our genes and epigenetics, and whether we have the right balance of nutrients as nutrients work synergistically together.
Now that is a really difficult technical problem and is specific to every individual. What works for Joe may not work for Mary.
One possible solution is to install a $100,000 blood testing machine right next to the coffee machine in every house. I think there may be a snag there I have not spotted as yet – I will work on it.
Now if you have ever given a lecture to a group of kids there is always one at the back which asks such a simple, obvious question that completely blows away the whole of your talk.
And that question would be “If it is all so complicated and we need all these expensive machines which were developed only recently how comes there are almost eight billion people in the world who are generally fit and healthy and breeding away quite nicely without these expensive machines and high technology?”
And the answer is that our gut and head brain are much smarter than we give them credit for, they have learned to control the food we eat by sending our signals and the people that did not have that intelligent control system died out millions of years ago by the process of evolution.
Warning terrible pun coming up
So I have a gut feeling that we should trust our guts.
I am sure that the very clever people trying to understand the complexity of our gut biology and how the body regenerates will some day work it all out.
But in the mean time there is very simple test we can do.Food cravings
There is a saying that for every complex problem there is a simple solution – that does not work.
But we do know that many people eating a modern high energy low nutrient diet get food craving and consequently over eat (sugary fatty foods) and get sick.
Now I have to be careful here as the big problem with diet and health is that we are all different, I suggest you read the books by Tim Spector – one of the worlds leading researchers and experts in diet and health.
And it is a simple fact there are some people who can eat high energy, low nutrient food and remain perfectly slim and healthy for life. Unfortunately neither they or we know how they do it.
But what we equally well know is that people who have been eating a typical high energy low nutrient diet and swap to a high nutrient diet can reverse all the nasty side affects and become healthy people again.
And there is a dead simple way of finding out if your body is compatible with the diet or the other way round, if your diet is compatible with your body – and that is by monitoring food cravings.
If you are suffering from food cravings, always hunting around for that sugary snack between meals then there is obviously an incompatibility.
If you change you diet to one incorporating a significant amount of fruit and vegetables grown in nutrient rich biologically active soil then the chances are that there is compatibility.
We know that our gut biology is continuously changing with our diet and this only takes a few weeks. Just swap incorporating plants grown in high nutrient biologically active soil for a few weeks and see if your food craving disappear.
Oh no! Not again
So we think we know everything and all our problems are solved then along comes something which makes us rethink all our previous ideas. It is not that they were wrong it is just that when we look at a bigger pictures we see things in a broader perspective.
Now learning how to think is the most important thing we can teach our kids. I have no idea what life will be like in twenty years time, right now I am having problems with twenty weeks.
The problem with thinking is we all live in silos formed by our particular speciality and we have difficulty with seeing the full story. This is of course the trick used by con men, they just tell you things that are true until you trust them then they hit with the special offer from some weird plant in the Amazon Jungle of the Himalayas which you can buy on this once in a live time special offer. This is something we really must teach our kids.
Now look at what I have been arguing. Our bodes are smart and can tell is we are lacking some weirdo mineral and will created hunger signals so we eat some more, and it will keep on until it gets that weirdo mineral. That is true and easy to test.
But – here it comes – it is not the total truth.
It just tastes sooooo good
We simply like food – and the taste of food has just been getting better and better – and we now have a full science of taste where artificial food additives are produced in factories where they turn dull and boring food into something almost irresistible. These too create food cravings, helped along by more that a bit of advertising.
We are social creatures
Now us humans are a social creatures and eating has been a the centres of us socialising since we shared a meal around our camp fire all those thousands of years ago.
Imaging the modern setting, you are a young male at a party and this really attractive girl comes along with a really tempting cheese cake and says “ I heard you were coming so I made this special cheese cake just for you, I used my grandmothers recipe and it really taste good, won’t you try just a little bit – please (implied – and I will be your friend for ever and make you very happy).
I am old now but I can tell you for sure that when I was young there is no way I would knock back such an offer.
Pavlov’s dogs and eating
But we are also creatures of habit, our bodies are smart and know when it if food time so we automatically created hunger signals on schedule and will eat whether we have food cravings or not.
So that is how we end up overeating
So how do we manage these food cravings? First step is to learn to recognise which type of food craving we are experiencing. There is absolutely nothing wrong in stuffing down a piece or three of cheese cake if we know what we are doing and then let our bodies recover until we experience genuine hunger. Some level of hunger is actually good for us and allows us to recover those eating binges.
This is absolutely normal – throughout history across the world we have participating in feasts. It is natural bought on in many cased by climate and the seasonality of produce – that is what Harvest festivals, Christmas and all the other feats times are about.
But those festivals have generally been preceded by going hungry so we really enjoy the food and afterwards because there wasn’t much food around.
That is how we have evolved – our bodies are very good at feasts and famine – we would not have survived otherwise.
It is worth reading about Sugar blockers here
No money back guarantee
The internet if full of scam with buy now money back guarantees. I suggest you look at my video food, facts and fibs so you know how they are trying to manipulate you.
I don’t sell anything so I can’t offer you a money back guarantee but I do suggest that you look at the many articles on food on my gbiota.com web site.