Chemical Consumerism

chemical consumerismAn expanding medical establishment is faced with a generally healthy population in the West so medical consumerism is on the increase. Medicine is an increasing part of our economy, with many normal processes such as childhood excitability, puberty, ageing or menopause are becoming medicalised and subject to treatment by pharmaceutical drugs being a normal ‘over the counter’ purchase in our shopping.

Medical consumerism, like ordinary consumerism, is designed to be unsatisfying. Doctors and many consumers are locked within a fantasy that everyone has something wrong with them that can be ‘cured’ by medical means, treating trivial complaints with fancy procedures. This is partly based on the medical successes of the 1930’s and 40’s and has led to inflated expectations that are basically unfulfillable. The ‘silver bullet’ approach to modern disease is an anachronism (see ‘the-power-of-immunity‘).

However pharmaceutical companies are quick on the uptake and always on the lookout for profit. They have already bought in to the consumer led craze for pill popping and convenience chemicals and surgery. They have a vested interest in developing expensive synthetic products or processes for us to buy, over easily found and more natural treatments, especially if they are ‘free’.

Any supermarket now stocks a whole range of medical treatments for a variety of minor afflictions. It is an interesting experience to view how many products on sale in a supermarket are of chemical origin. Think back even only ten years and there were far fewer products of synthetic origin. Every synthetic drug or chemical has side effects and these are contributing to the development of toxic overload in our bodies that stress our immune systems and prepare us for serious illness. And the ‘cures’ for these dis-eases? They come from the same pharmaceutical industries. It’s just like the glazier who sent his young son out smashing windows.

For example most non-organically farmed animals are routinely treated with antibiotics. A high-yielding cow might be killed off after three lactations, whereas in a less intensive farming practice she might still be in her prime. The quality of life these ‘cow units on a production line’ can actually be tasted in the foodstuffs they supply. Try it yourself – get some fresh organic milk and some farmed milk and just taste the difference!

The drive to cut corners and costs in food mass production means antibiotics are used routinely on animals and crops are often covered in pesticides. Research presented by the Soil Association shows a 60% increase in Tylosin given to pigs in their feed, creating resistance to front-line antibiotics given to humans. Similarly with Enroflaxin routinely put in the drinking water of farmed chickens.

Nicarbazin is another chemical shown to cause birth defects and hormonal imbalance in animals. It is used in chicken feed and levels up to 20 times the legally permitted level have been found in about 10% of chicken livers.

Total farm antibiotic use has increased by 11% in 3 years when it was supposed to fall. Most farm animals in UK are still given antibiotics in feed on a daily basis. In Britain over 3 times the weight of antibiotics is fed to each pig compared with Denmark.

Unheard of chemical exist in our foodstuffs: Acrylamide is a toxin linked to cancer and nerve damage that is present in many foods in Britain – cakes, chips, crisps, biscuits and bread, in amounts that may cause long-term damage.

Iprodione is a suspected carcinogen and suspected groundwater contaminant and hormone disrupter that is in food including carrots.

Aldicarb is used on potatoes and described by the World Health Organisation as ‘highly toxic’. Around 25,000 tons of pesticide is applied to UK
crops every year. Almost half of UK fruit and vegetables contain pesticide residues.

The most dangerous, such as organophosphates, have been linked with cancer, foetal abnormalities, chronic fatigue syndrome in some children and Parkinson’s disease.

Many of these manufactured, synthetic chemicals fail to break down and actually accumulate in organic life forms. For example organochlorines such as those found in solvents, propellants, coolants and many forms of packaging (including food) are concentrating in the food chain. These chemicals accumulate in life forms such as plankton.

As a result fish have been found with 159,000 times greater concentration of some organochlorines than are found in the water they inhabit. Accumulation of these poisons have been found at 3 billion times the background rate in polar bears.

Inuit Indians living far from traditional industry have been found with phenomenal amounts of chlorine derivatives in their body tissues. These organochlorines are passed to their children during pregnancy and in mother’s milk.

When the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in US carried out a random survey of the average diet of American children.They found 66 known carcinogens (cancer causing substances) in an average child’s diet. In amongst all those toxins we consume are some really dangerous ones. Lots of chemicals are used in our homes, in food production and agriculture. Current testing procedures can only detect about 40% of known chemicals and only a hundredth of the foods you will find on a supermarket shelf in the UK have been tested for chemicals.

Our manufacturing industries produce much de-natured food, grown on increasingly de-mineralised soils. Important minerals in the soil of many farms are depleted and are replaced by chemically engineered growth aids. This leads to low mineral levels in non-organic foods.

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