Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Soil, The Food, Our Bodies and the Missing Link

BuddingPlantSoilSoulWell I finally did it. I planted a garden last month. It marks the end of years of wistful thinking of “could haves”, “can Is?” endless reading, researching and questions. The biggest issue I had to overcome was the thinking that only expert gardeners can grow successfully. I came. I saw. I planted. And it grew. I am now officially a gardener. After years of sharing natural, holistic information on this site, I feel as though I’ve reached a circle of completeness, tying in the knowledge and now the experience of getting my hands dirty…planting a seed and watching it grow.

For the longest time, I felt it was imperative to learn how to tend and care for a garden. For one, to honor my mother’s legacy. She was wonderful gardener, tending the earth to grow tomatoes, rhubarbs, strawberries, watermelons, grape and much, much more. Secondly, I desired a hands-on connection to understanding my food and nutrition.

We are all products of our environment. This is an elemental and basic principle of life. Teach a child the way they should go and they will not depart from it. Pressure makes diamonds and practice makes perfect. When planting a seed, it is amazing to consider the life that is in the soil. It is teeming with purposeful activity. Tilling my garden for the first time ever, I saw worms, grubs, super small squiggly things, pale “baby” cicadas and other strange forms of life. Even smaller than that, microorganisms work hard to create enzymes for the plant life and foliage that we take for granted on a daily basis. They construct the habitat needed for the plants we consume for sustenance and nutrients. Each gram of healthy top soil has in excess of four billion microorganisms that manufacture bio-chemicals essential to plant and animal life.5 It is said that microorganism activity in preparing one acre of top soil expends the energy equivalent to 10,000 people doing the same amount of work in the same amount of time.5 In order for soil microorganisms to be healthy, all minerals need to be present in the soil. Studies show that they (microorganisms) provide protoplasm compounds for every living organism above ground1. What if those hard-working microorganisms don’t get all the elements needed for the perfect environmental setting?

Most of the elements in the soil are used by the microorganisms in making enzymes. A
shortage of elements means a shortage of enzymes. A shortage of enzymes means a shortage
of compounds catalyzed by the enzymes, and hence malfunction of enzyme systems in all the
life forms dependent on the soil mineral supply. The fact that Johnnie can’t read and that we
have a $200 billion annual national medical bill both stem from the same cause—a poor
delivery of elements from the soil in both quantity and balance1
.

The Age of Chemical Agriculture

Today most of our top and subsoil have been virtually stripped of elements save for a few. To create healthy soil organisms for quality foliage, re-mineralizing the soil back to health is extremely vital. Once it was believed and determined that NPK (chemical) fertilizers could stimulate plant growth, the age of chemical agriculture was born. Chemical agriculture espouses, a now debated, solution that exchanges ions with plant roots and clay particles. While chemical fertilizers release enough elements to grow sufficient microorganisms, once it is used up, the production of microorganisms die off. Soluble industrial chemical fertilizers, processed from mineral deposits, act selectively. Dissolving some stones while leaving others unaffected. A stone particularly unaffected, silicate stones, form the bulk of the soil and contain elements useful to plant life, in silicone dioxide, which is glass. Glass is not affected by chemical fertilizers.1 The result? Some elements are removed from the soil and others are not made available.

Our Soil – An Incomplete Puzzle 

This unbalanced soil composition is also severely lacking in Humus, a black/brown complex of carbon containing compounds, in other words, decomposed natural organic matter. Natural organic matter is basically decomposed plant and animal matter. This decomposition is made up of several essential components, made available by soil microorganisms; Humin, Humic Acids and Fulvic Acids. The Humus provides a source of energy for soil microorganisms and soil animals. Healthy, fertile soil must contain carbon containing compounds to sustain the microscopic world that creates fertile soil and healthy plants. Fertile soil should have 28% of organic matter. That number has dwindled down to 2%.2  Modern, monoculture farming practices are said to have contributed to this breakdown, meanwhile, the residence time for these essential humic substances are:

  • Humin – 1,140 years
  • Humic Acids – 1,235 years
  • Fulvic Acids – 870 years2

Fulvic Acids – The Missing Piece?

Fulvic acids are supercharged electrolytes, created by the soil microorganisms via microbial decomposition of the natural organic matter of ancient forests and ideal weathering conditions over generations. Fulvic acids are  powerful electrochemical transporter of nutrients, chelators of metallic minerals, aids in the absorption of minerals and nutrients and many more important functions needed for healthy plant life. Because Fulvic acids are very low in molecular weight, smaller than humic acids, they are able to permeate cell walls, even mitochondria3, Their low molecular weight, lends to their super function capacity. Because they can pass through cell walls, they are a super detoxifier, cleaning out cells. As more and more attention is being brought to this missing component in our soil, many scientists are calling it the missing link in our health. Millions of years prior to the existence of chemical agriculture, the earth was once rich with superlative soils and growing conditions. This is evidenced by the discovered humic deposits, opulent in fulvic acids. The vegetation, then was also prosperous and affluent. We know this by the remains that formed into oil and coal deposits.5

Today our soil tells a different story in a different time. With our soil lacking in elements (minerals) and fulvic acids, it would explain why fruits and veggies purchased in the supermarket contain 5% to 40% less nutrients than they did 20 years ago 4.  It takes generations to create this refined and complex component. Simply composting our soils and gardens will not create the fulvic acids needed to optimize plant life.

The good news is fulvic acids are found in deposits in varying places. It is extracted to be consumed orally and it can be added to your garden for super organic gardening. I’ve been using fulvic acids in my garden. Here are before and after pictures of my cucumber plants.

IMG_20150706_170500 (1)IMG_20150714_153915

 

Fulvic Acids’ History as a Treatment

“Re-mineralization of soils would be of little benefit without microbes, the fulvic acid they produce, and return to better farming practices. Re-mineralization of our bodies without the fulvic acid that should be contained in the plants we eat, has proven just as useless. People are sick with degenerative and deficiency related diseases now more than ever. With fulvic acid supplementation and return to proper diet and farming practices these situations have the potential to be remedied.”5

The amazing benefits of fulvic acids is not a new discovery. Its uses towards health have been documented in the 15th century Ming Dynasty by Li Shi Zhen, a famous medical doctor. Using humic and fulvic acids as an active ingredient, Li Shi Zhen, applied treatment to infectious ulcerous growths.5 Prior to the 70’s, China used humic and fulvic acids in hospitals with success. Hundreds of studies and research papers have been published nationally in China and Chinese doctors now use fulvic-related medicine as a treatment.5 Doctors of the Himalayans have long claimed the benefits of shilajit, a humic substance rich in fulvic acids. The peoples of this region are known to live 100 years and beyond. The infamous, longevity of the people of the Himalayan belt is documented and now substantiated by leading medical hospitals and pharmacologists around the world.

The Marketing Hype

We live in a day and age where commercialism greases the wheels of our society. Because fulvic acids are super complex and refined, science is not able to duplicate nature’s elixir into a synthetic form and therefore it offers little opportunity for capitalistic gain. Fulvic acids are instead extracted from ancient deposits. As empowered consumers of a commercialistic society, we would be wise to understand HOW these substances are extracted to avoid falling prey to inferior products. The importance of quality cannot be overstated. Many of us that depend on products to maintain health, often times go for the least expensive, easily attainable, supplement. Typically inferior products lack the desired results and may even have an opposite effect…and we end up losing the very money we’re trying to save. The quality of a product…not the branding…will speak for itself.

Naturally, as investors in our own health we want something as close to the natural as possible. Ninety-nine percent of manufacturers use the acid extraction process which leaves a lot of salt, thereby creating an acidic product with low Ph levels. To combat low Ph levels, bases and acids are often added, adding further containments to the final product. Other companies use the water extraction method as an alternative. This method, while more ethical, is not any more effective. Ultimately, vitamins and minerals are added to provide a “benefit” and mask an inferior product. The International Humic Substances Society produces fulvic acids at a ratio of 14-15. A new product, Miessence Fulvic Acids, recently released in June 2015, measures at a ratio of 17-20, currently the highest at this time. Miessence uses a patented extraction method that extracts the fulvic acids by molecular weight, rendering this a pure and concentrated product without the containments and a Ph level of 5.5. To learn more about Miessence Fulvic Acids go to www.miessence.com/theoliveparent or contact me on the sidebar. New customers can receive a 5% discount on 1 or 2 bottles of fulvic acids. Simply contact me and mention this article.

Final Thoughts…

If I can get on my soapbox for one minute and implore those reading, to go outside today and dig into the soil. Get it underneath your nails and ponder the wondrous life that works for YOU, your family and loved ones. It saddens me to no end, how we, as a people are thoughtlessly, carelessly destroying the life within the soil…which can easily be considered the “soul” of the earth. Allow me to leave you with one thought-provoking quote from Justus Von Liebig, the father of chemical agriculture (PNK fertilizer).

“I had sinned against the wisdom of the Creator, and received my righteous
punishment. I wished to improve his work, and in my blindness believed that,
in the marvelous chain of laws binding life on earth’s surface and keeping it
always new, a link had been forgotten which I, weak and powerless worm,
must supply.”
—Justus von Liebig, late in life quoted from Encyclopedia Britannica , 1899;
removed from subsequent editions.1

 

Sources:

1. The Survival of Civilization – www.soilandhealth.org

2. ORGANIC MATTER, HUMUS, HUMATE, HUMIC ACID, FULVIC ACID AND HUMIN: THEIR IMPORTANCE IN SOIL FERTILITY AND PLANT HEALTH, Dr. Robert E. Pettit, Emeritus Associate Professor Texas A&M University – www.humates.com

3. Miessence Fulvic Acids Fact Sheet

4. Eating Your Veggies: Not As Good For You? – Time.com, M.J. Stephey, Wed. Feb. 18 2009

5. Fulvic Acids: Nature’s Perfect Medicine – InsidersHealth.com

Sunday, July 19, 2015

An Earth-Loving Publication Needs Your Support

I believe in supporting eco-friendly, earth-loving businesses. Holistic Parenting Magazine is one of them! Holistic Parenting Magazine is such a unique, wholesome publication with breathtaking photos of natural ‪#‎birth‬, ‪#‎pregnancy‬ and more. Please support this beautiful publication! Donate $5 for a the current digital issue, donate $10 for a year of digital issues. If you sell natural products, donate $100 or more for ad space.

Learn their story and visit the link to see your options…

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/holistic-parenting-magazine#/story

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Babymoon #8 My Sweet, Precious Son

It’s been eight weeks since my precious son was born and I’ve neglected to share the news with you all here! Needless to say I’ve been baby-mooning, breastfeeding and getting to know my handsome, strong and superbly healthy baby boy! He arrived on National Siblings day.  Checking in at 10 pounds, 20 inches long.

My waterbirth was successfully perfect. It wasn’t pain-free as I was hoping, but it went pretty fast. Here is my young prince at six weeks old.

20150513_122748

Friday, March 13, 2015

Birthing In Water

Holistic Parenting Magazine invited yours truly to write an article on water birth. “Birthing in Water” is featured in this year’s March/April issue. Here’s a snippet of it…
Birthing In Water by Hannah Rhodes
“There was simply no way. It was imperative to seek out other birth choices. My second birth experience comprised all the traditional cocktails a modern childbirth has to offer. Induced, strapped to a bed, denied food with a painfully neglected IV stuck up my arm, it was nothing short of a miracle I wasn’t sectioned. My daughter arrived, unscathed by the harsh pitocin, but not the pulling and tugging of rough hands, and I endured the whole thing without pain medication. The memories surrounding what should have been a peaceful introduction of a beautiful child, are filled with degradation, belittle-ment, and resentment. Never have I felt so mistreated and violated in such a personal way. I spent that first and last night in that hospital in full defense mode. I fended off nurses who cited hospital policy while bringing bottles of formula and seemingly sadistic ideas on how to keep baby awake.

History

Today, the concept of water birthing continues to intrigue and cajole women across the globe as an therapeutic option for pain management and easy transition for the child. Although water birthing may be shocking to modern, medical consciousness, the practice is certainly not new and has been increasing in popularity in America since the ‘90s. Birthing in water is the practice of laboring and delivering in a tub of warm water (98 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit). It has been said water birthing has been around for a millennia, but there is little concrete evidence to show for this. The first modern water birth, as documented, took place in 1803, in France, in a French Medical Society Journal.”


You can find the complete article here: http://holisticparentingmagazine.com/articles/birthing-water








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Monday, March 9, 2015

Standards vs. Testing Does #Non-GMO Project Make the Grade?

IMG_20130428_144308I used to be embarrassed about being a purist, because many people and family members view it as a form of snobbery, possibly elitist in some way. Often, I battled my preferences for the cleanest food against offending those with friendly offerings of cultural, non-food items. Two years ago, I nearly gave in to the ideal that good, clean food and products just don’t exist and that I needed to lower my standards and expectations. Then I discovered Miessence. Not only do they sell food-grade skin/body care products, but they are on a mission to empower and inform. Since becoming a rep, I’ve been tickled to expound my mission as a blogger to learn more and personally reach out and share with those interested in clean products and clean living. Joining the Miessence community of support and like-minded individuals, has empowered me further to embrace my inner purist, striving in every facet of my live to live as naturally, and holistically as possible and making evolutions away from the way I used to live and eat.

I offer no excuses to those who seem offended by my expectation of clean food and products, as a matter of fact, I use these opportunities to share and enlighten. About a year ago, a sweet little girl, along with her dad showed up at my door selling girl scout cookies. Usually, I like to support these efforts, but a quick glance at the ingredients showed soy, soy derivatives and other items that typically hail from GMO crops. Pondering how to begin the conversation, I started by explaining to the dad that 95% of soy crops are genetically modified and I was avoiding GMOs for myself and my family. Surprisingly, he understood and even knew what GMOs were. They departed on a positive note and I’m sure the conversation left an impression on him and his daughter. We are so sick as a society and many have not made the connection to what we eat and how we live...in some ways we all need to be purists. Simply because the powers that be, the ones that claim to oversee safety, seem to not only fallen asleep at the wheel, but have undercut this agenda in the name of profit.

I’ve most certainly lost faith in the FDA to protect us from dangerous products on the market. Not only is the cosmetic industry self-regulated, but Iatrogensis, injury or death from medical care, is one of the leading causes of death. Adverse drug reactions tops the list of inadvertent medical errors. Drugs, it should be emphasized, that have been approved for the marketplace. I’m a thinking woman. So when we have a government organization assigned for oversight and safety and the results of this aren’t showing up in society…as a matter of fact, the exact opposite of it…clearly a problem exists.

Thus, we turn to certifying agencies and certifications to assure ourselves of clean products and food. Not to too long ago I purchased USDA certified organic products with confidence, unfortunately, stumbling upon some information has caused me to question the validity of a USDA certified organic product. Despite the advice of credible experts such as Dr. Oz and the Institute of Responsible Technology, a USDA certified organic certification does NOT guarantee that the product you are purchasing is GMO-free. This fact comes from the National Organic Program, itself. They explain certifying organic products is processed-based and does not require testing. A company that adheres to the “excluded methods” (GMOs are excluded along with a list of exclusions) process in their approved organic system plan, is considered an organic operation…even IF the unintentional presence of GMOs are found in their products.  Don’t take my word for it. Read for yourself >>>here.

An approved organic system of excluded methods is left up to the discretion of a certifying agency (approved by the FDA). Can we trust these certifying agencies to provide certifications services that reflect true embodiment of the products they validate? The Organic Consumer Association compiled agencies (personal care, not food standards) and have graded them according to their approval process. Suffice it to say, they are not all created equal. The link can be found under the citations section at the end of the article.

The USDA, National Organic Program (food standards) remains the highest organic standard, but as I mentioned earlier, even this system has flaws. As a matter of fact, Tropical Traditions, a company I’ve found to be very credible (at this point!) have begun testing their OWN products for the herbicide glyphosate. Upon discovering some of their products contaminated with it, they have promptly removed those products from their line! Dissatisfied with today’s certifications and labeling, Tropical Traditions announced that they will be phasing out their USDA certified organic certification because standards have become “watered-down and confusing”.

Wow.

At least we have NonGMO Project Verified…right? That’s what I thought until I discovered KeVita Probiotic Drinks was Non-GMO Project Verified. This led me to contact Non-GMO Project to inquire if they actually test probiotic strains for genetic modification. The conversation was enlightening to say the least, but left me with more questions than answers.

Prior to contacting them, I was under the impression and a believe a lot of you are too, that Non-GMO Project, did the actual testing for GMOs. What I learned is that much like the National Organic Program, they employ a “standard” and third-party agencies apply the approval and testing process, in which documentation is submitted to NGP for certification.

The convo took place over a week in seven emails, here are portions of the emails…

ME: (Initial question) “I have a question and concern about an ingredient listed on a product that has the nonGMO Project verification status. Before I delve into the topic, I'd like to ask, does nonGMO Project verify and test probiotic/bacteria strains for genetic engineering or modification?”

NGP: All probiotics are evaluated in every product, because they are active organisms. All inputs are reviewed in a product, and with living organisms, that requires a review of what that organism consumed. Basically, our Standard addresses micro-organisms similar to the fashion in which our Standard reviews animals. A product that includes probiotics would mean that our verification ensures the organism itself is non-GMO and the organism was not fed GMOs. (Most bacteria and fungus raised in/on a growth media of sugar.)”

ME: “Just to confirm how your standards are upheld...living organisms such as probiotics are not tested for genetic modification themselves, but instead are determined nonGMO by your organization due to consumption of nonGMO food, in this case nonGMO sugar?

Let me pose an example to you, if genetically altered salmon was offered to your organization as a review, you would not test that living organism for genetic modification, but instead you would review what it consumed, and by that, your determination of that salmon would be non GMO?” 

NGP: “Hannah, I appreciate you seeking clarity. Genetically engineered probiotics are prohibited by our Standard.

For all living organisms, our standard requires proof that 1) the organism is not genetically modified, and 2) that it is not consuming GMOs.

We do not allow genetically modified salmon, cows, pics, bacteria, yeast, etc .... nor any of their progeny or any of their byproducts.

For pobiotics to be compliant, manufacturers must supply the technical administrator (certifying body) with documentation about the specific strain of bacteria they are using to show that it is not a genetically modified strain. They must also provide information about the growth medium.”

ME: “Thank you [Name Redacted], I truly appreciate your patience!

I was under the impression that nonGMO Project did the actual testing for genetic modification. Is this not so?

If companies submit documentation to your certifying body, are their documentations from an independent third party? Do they provide documentation of lab tests?”

NPG:  “Similar to an organic certification---whereas the National Organic Program retains and upholds the organic standard, while individual certifying bodies apply the standard---technical administrators that have been trained and approved to apply the Non-GMO Project Standard provide services to companies to go through the verification process. Once proof of verification is provided by the TA, the Non-GMO Project releases use of the Verified seal per a licensing agreement with the company.

Documentation required during the verification process is retained by the assigned TA, which is industry standard practice. Only approved independent, third-party labs can provide testing and evaluation services as part of the verification process.” 

ME: “Thank you. Smile

In their defense, this information IS provided on their website. When NGP became a reality, I was so excited to see an independent, non-profit take on the cause of GMO testing, I didn’t think to look into the process of how that testing was actually applied. The next thing I did to satisfy my ever inquisitive mind was contact one of their TAs, Food Chain ID, by phone, with a the help of a friend, due to my hearing impairment.

We learned that Food Chain ID only tests “high risk” ingredients. For example, they wouldn’t test cranberries or apricots for GMOs since no crops have been approved for GE.

Makes sense.

But when I asked if they consider probiotics high risk and tested directly, no direct answer was given. Instead of a yes or no, I got an explanation on how strict they require the growth medium for the probiotic to be. In my book, an indirect, evasive or deflective answer is no answer. So I’ve concluded that probiotic strains are not conclusively tested for genetic modification.

Having said all this, a guideline I’ve decided for myself… use the certified organic certification as a way to determine whether your fruits or veggies are organic, I would not completely rely on this for packaged products. In the same vein, I use the Non-Gmo Project seal the same way. I would purchase a Non-GMO Project verified packaged product, but I’m not sold when it comes to verifying probiotic stains to GE free.

One last note, my shop does offer some USDA certified organic products, but all products with the exception of the dish detergent, either have an Australian or IFOAM (International) certification, whose standards are undoubtedly higher than USDA. As a matter of fact, as the world’s first certified organic skin/body care line, there were no other standard for cosmetics to live up to other than food grade standard. Our formulas have remained consistent. I’m happy to consult and offer my research services to anyone who is concerned about the current products they’re consuming, use the contact box to set up a free consultation.

Tell me, are you just as surprised to learn about Non-GMO Project’s verification process as I was? Leave a comment!

Please review TOP’s Disclaimers/Disclosures

Citations:

http://draxe.com/conventional-medicine-is-the-leading-cause-of-death/

http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5096493&acct=nopgeninfo

https://www.organicconsumers.org/old_articles/bodycare/drb_compare.php

http://healthytraditions.com/2015/03/02/tropical-traditions-announces-new-glyphosate-tested-program/

http://www.foodchainid.com/Non-GMO-Project/Verification-Process