Environmental balance

Colin Austin © 22 Jan 2020 Creative commons this document may be copied but source should be acknowledged

We need the bugs

We may think that we humans are the most successful creature on the face of the earth, which may be true, but we are totally dependant on the minute creatures that we call micro biology or bugs for short.

There are good bugs and bad bugs, the good bugs keep us alive.

We need good bugs to break up the minerals in the soil to make them available to plants and we also need good bugs inside our guts, partly to digest our food, partly to ward of the bad bugs and most importantly as part of our intelligent control system which automatically manages our bodies, deciding when we are hungry and what and how much we need to eat.

Without good bugs we cease to exist – they really are our mates.

The bad bugs are a different story, they want to kill us – slowly and often in great pain, so they can feed on us without us running around and wasting their food supply and so they have time to breed up and make more bad bugs.

They are definitely not our mates.

Fortunately our mates – the good bugs – can outcompete the bad bugs – our non mates – so we can live happily – we just have to create the conditions where the good bugs can look after us.

Mankind – sometimes cooperative sometimes selfish

We have become the dominant creature by a combination of our technology – our ability to develop and use tools, and our willingness to cooperate together.

Normal people, whether in Melbourne, Tehran, Detroit, London, Pyongyang or Shanghai have no desire to kill each other and are happy to cooperate together. But throughout our history there have been people who want to control their fellow human beings, whether for political or religious reasons or as often as not just purely for money. Humans are a mixed bag.

Modern intelligent technology – the internet, data mining, artificial intelligence, manipulative psychology has allowed this small minority of people to accumulate wealth and power beyond the imagination of most ordinary people.

Our Intelligent control system

We have evolved, over millions of years a highly effective intelligent control system which manages our appetite and how much fat we store in our bodies. Our gut biota, the trillions of cells in our guts form a critical part of this control system with our gut brains working with our head brain.

Modern foods, high in sugars, fats and salt override and damage this control system and actually change the gut biota, our tummy bugs, making us addicted to these foods. Some people, with extreme self control manage to override this by will power and diet.

A far easier way it so incorporate into our diet fruits and particularly fresh vegetables which act as sugar blockers and after a few weeks reverse damage to the gut biota.

We then stop having cravings for these bad foods – which is a far more pleasant way.

Deception in food is simply bad – we all have to eat. We have actors playing doctors and worse doctors playing actors trying to manipulate the way we think and act with our food.

Modern food is a magic combination of sugars, fats, and salt and we just love the taste – who doesn’t like ice cream, cheese cake, chips or pizza. And we are told it is healthy and full of energy and it is perfectly true we do need some energy foods to live.

But that is the way deception works – give a little bit of truth and hide what you don’t want people to know.

But is it really that unhealthy? Stuffing ourselves with ice cream or cheese cake, now and again, is not going to kill us or do us any real harm – but if we do it on a regular basis we will change our gut biology – which is good news for those who want to manipulate us as we will become addicted to these foods – but bad news for us.

 Technology and globalisation

Technology and globalisation has increased global productive capacity out of all recognition, unfortunately the benefits have not flowed equally to the society as a whole but have made a few rich people even richer.

Even more damaging is the ability to harvest data to manipulate peoples actions with information which is far from the truth – particularly about food. The net result is an epidemic of chronic diseases but I like to call ‘fat in the wrong places’ diseases – diabetes, obesity and dementia.

Over millions of years we have developed a synergistic relation with our good gut bugs. We feed them the food they like and they protect us from the bad bugs and manage our bodies so we store the fat we actually need in the right places.

But if the bad bugs take over and we become addicted then we have real problems, with what these ‘fat in the wrong places’ disease of diabetes, obesity and dementia.

With all this deception how do we restore our gut biota and eat healthy. Again it is a combination of technology and social cooperation.

I can help with the technology. I was recognised by the Institute of Engineers Australia as among the top 100 innovators for my work on computer aided engineering, I am comfortable with the process of innovation but I feel very strongly that new technology should be for the benefit of the community – not just to make a few rich people even richer.

I have been involved with growing food all my life and for the last twenty years my interest has been how the way we grow our food affects our health.

I realised that our gut biology has a major impact on health and developed the Gbiotabeds to improve gut biology. But they are highly productive and sustainable with the primary inputs of compost and volcanic rock dust and use minimal water.

There is a great deal of information (and argument) on diet, but how food is grown has a pronounced effect on how beneficial it is. Kale is often promoted as the wonder vegetable but Kale grown in nutritious, biologically active soil is totally different to Kale grown in tired, dead soil just relying on chemical inputs.

It is easy to force grow food with chemicals, they grow fast and look good and using toxic chemicals are free of bugs – good and bad. But to grow food that is really healthy we need a variety of trace minerals in the soil – magnesium, selenium, iodine etc. which the plants don’t need but we do if we are to be healthy. See the talk I gave way back in 2014 http://www.waterright.com.au/Shanghai%20Wuhan%20talk.pdf

Growing plants which make us healthy is the province of the regenerative farmer. It is just a fact that the farm gate cost of growing food this way is higher than industrial chemical farming – but we can use the internet to buy direct from these regenerative farmers so the final price is actually less.

Enabling technology

Just because the technology enables people to enjoy a healthier diet does not automatically mean that is will just happen. This also requires a social change.

Typically consumers have very little knowledge or control over how their food is grown.

Typically supermarkets decide and control how farmers grow the food – requiring conformity to strict rules which are deigned to make the produce look more attractive and sell-able which is very different to being the best for health.

The social changes needed is from supermarkets controlling the way food is grown to consumer controlling the way their food is grown by consumers buying directly from the growers. The internet, where people can buy on line, ordering their produce while it is still in the ground and having it harvested and delivered to their door is an essential enabling technology.

But, as usual, enabling technology is not enough, it requires social change to make it happen.

Obstacles to social change

Our intelligent control system overrides our bio-chemistry

But, as usual their are obstacles to social change.

The first is that people are simply different. Modern technology has made grade strides in understanding the bio-chemistry of our bodies which may be reasonably consistent between people, but above the biochemistry is our intelligent control system, which is made up from our gut and head brains.

Our gut brains is determined by the composition of our guts, if we have sugar loving bugs in our guts it is very difficult for a person to override these strong signals to eat more sugary foods. Our head brain remembers our entire eating history from birth, if as a child we developed an obsession or aversion to a different type of food then that will influence the sort of food we want to eat.

We may not remember eating that foul tasting over ripe tomato as a kid, but our brain has done the mental equivalent of putting it in its filing cabinet so all we know is we don’t like tomatoes.

General laws may not apply

Dietary science, like all science tries to develop general laws but this has not been successful creating disputes on what makes a healthy diet while there is really no one diet which suits everyone. One person may be able to manage a diet full of fats and sugars without harm while another person will rapidly become diabetic on the same diet.

Some people are naturally slim whatever they eat while others become fat on highly restrictive diets.

It is not uncommon for people on a highly restrictive diet that their intelligent control system, which governs their body, decides that any food they do eat, however restricted should be stored as fat. It is essentially in panic mode which is why people on highly restrictive diets often end up fatter than ever after some initial gains.

This required that every individual has to do some experimentation to work out what is the most appropriate diet for them.

Convenience

Despite all the improvements in our productive technology many people are under greater time pressure than ever before. This is a phenomena well exploited by our food system which has undoubtedly been extremely effective in providing packaged foods have the appearance of convenience – despite the fact that microwaved vegetables are both convenient and healthy.

Commercial pressure

But in addition to the technical problems there is the pressure that comes from money.

The most profitable way to grow food is by exploiting the benefits of chemical industrial farming, it may leave people less satisfied but that simply means they eat more food, so the companies make more money and who want’s to loose their job by being a whistle blower.

But the drug and supplement industry are massive industries who earn large amounts of money because of peoples poor diet, a suplement company is unlikely to be promoting that people could get all the minerals and vitamins they need by eating a healthy balanced diet at a fraction of the cost even if true.

Professional practise

While practising doctors are generally concerned for the benefits of their patients they are not free to operate as they may wish, there are constraints and procedures they must follow and there is a major lag between the leading edge of research and medicine as practised in the high street.

This is well illustrated with diabetes, there is no drug which will reverse diabetes, quite the contrary, diabetic drugs increase insulin which increases fat storage and makes, and will ensure, the patient remains diabetic for their rest of their life.

But any doctor who recommend to their patient that instead of taking pills they should adopt a diet specifically balanced to reduce the storage of fat, is likely to loose their license to practise medicine, even though in some cases this may be the most effective procedure.

Fortunately there a no laws with regulate what people can and cannot eat but it takes a very determined and knowledgeable person to override the commercial and medical pressures.

These are not trivial obstacles to the social change for people eating a more healthy diet.

Overcoming obstacles

The first step is simply information. There is a mass of information on this web site about food for health but there are also many other sources which confirm this information. In particular I recommend the work of Michael Mosley who has written many books on the subject but in addition has contacts with leading scientist in the area of food for health and so gives a balanced view of the state of the art.

There a two groups which need to be convinced, the growers and the consumers. There are already many growers who are fully convinced of the value of food grown in biologically active nutrient rich soil.

There is a growing awareness among farmers of the importance of regenerative farming by ensuring a healthy soil full of biology and minerals. There is no shortage of environmentally sensitive farmers, but they have school uniforms to buy and utes to fix.

They worry that there would there be a market if they decided to focus on this quality produce.

This leaves the ball very much in the hands of the consumers. They first have to convince themselves, over all the pressures I have just talked, about that they really want to buy this quality food and then convince the growers that they want to buy,

But it is no good just the odd individual saying they want to buy, there needs to be confirmation from a significant group of people.

Again the internet comes into play as they can join both global and local groups (like the biofoodie Facebook page) which demonstrate their commitment to this social change movement. They can form buyer cooperatives and community supported agriculture groups.

Home gardeners can grow some of their food, using Gbiota beds and test on themselves if it improves their health. It is a very easy experiments to see if it changes their gut biology.

Gut bugs have a very short life rarely exceeding a few weeks. If they can overcome any food craving for sugary foods while they eat a diet with a high vegetable content from Gbiota beds they can test for themselves if this reduced food and sugar cravings.

They can then share the results with other people, both their friends and on the internet.

There is a bit of a deal here, I share all the information on setting up Gbiota beds and provide provide technical support by answering any questions free of charge – but in return I expect them to share their experiences with other people – on and off line. This is all part of making change happen.

Group action

One individual won’t convince – it needs a group of people to get together to form buying cooperative or community supported agriculture groups, there are many schemes – to identify potential growers and convincing the growers that they will buy their produce if they grow it. Contact me for help in setting up these groups colinaustin@bigpond.com

By providing information on how our intelligent control system works, how Gbiota beds can grow fruit and vegetables which lead to a better gut biota and providing providing this web site as a means of bringing together potential micro farmers with aware eaters it is hoped to reverse the current food trend and create a healthier society.

Micro farms

GBiota beds can grow a lot of food in a small area – this makes micro farms very viable.

There are plenty of growers, and people who would like to enjoy a better life style by becoming growers but they are not going to change unless they feel there are people out there who will buy the produce in which they have invested time and money in growing to the needed nutritional quality.

My aim is to encourage and facilitate the social movement towards local micro farms where the community can buy healthy fruit and vegetables grown in nutritious, biologically active soils free of toxic chemicals.

Gbiota beds which are a highly effective growing system aimed at improving gut biology while the www.pickandeat.shop web site enables the community to buy fruit and vegetables while still in the ground so they can harvested and delivered the same day.

My contribution is this enabling technology – it is now up to society to see if they agree with me on this food for health project and create the social change.