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‘The Eleventh Commandment’
- secrets of ecological farming -
This article is about a dietary and farming law, the eleventh commandment, that is not to be found in the Bible, though it does belong there. It seems that there are quite a few Christians who have decided to keep to the biblical health laws, convinced that they are intrinsically good. However in current society much more is needed for a healthy life. What is the Hebrew equivalent of fast food? I have as yet been unable to discover it. Fast food means empty food, food deprived of its force and of its function as giver of life and friend of humanity. It would doubtless have been forbidden in the book of Leviticus if it had existed at the time. This is a subject close to my heart. In my student days I was, even then, what outsiders name a health freak. But I never saw myself like that. I never had long hair nor wore sandals. It was the 1960s, the era of flower power and suchlike, and of the Beatles, with their song “Yellow Submarine”, an unmistakeable reference to LSD, a drug you could get high on and go tripping. The disadvantage of the health cults is that the relevant literature and the atmosphere in which you land takes you – before you know it – into the New Age movement with its aauuummm-resounding ashrams. Understandable, therefore, that Christians are a little wary. But the basis assumption – nothing wrong with that: “Live healthily”.
1 – A cultural and political question
And yet there are Christian initiatives, particularly in agriculture, such as I found in Dr. Hans Müller (1891-1988), himself a deeply religious man. (1) I was on a course on the Möschberg in the Swiss Canton of Berne in 1978, a period when organic agriculture was still meeting strong opposition from the political world because it was alleged to be ‘unscientific’. (2) Müller was then well into his eighties, bubbling with energy. We became friends. After having functioned as ‘Nationalrat’ in the Swiss parliament for 19 years, he collaborated with the doctor and microbiologist Hans Peter Rusch (†1977) in further developing on a scientific basis the method (3) discovered by his wife, Dr. Maria Müller (†1965) and in setting up an organisation to spread the knowledge. In the autumn of 1984 I wrote a note of encouragement in their journal. The journal
was written for farmers and had a curious name: “Kultur und Politik”, based on the notion that the food problem, from production to the industrial processing and further to the preparation of food and eating habits, does not depend on the determination of a method but on acceptance by the public, and is therefore a cultural and political issue. The saying is “Man ist was man esst” (You are what you eat), but the reverse is also true: we eat food and have it prepared according to our fundamental opinions. Eating is an intimate occurrence, something fundamental.
Dr. Hans Müller
Frau Dr. Maria Müller - Bigler
2 – Every tiny piece of life is prepared to serve us
We can thank Rusch for the notion of the “cycle of living substance” as basic assumption for all our biological thought and activity: “Man and animal (…) are directly or indirectly dependent on plants, and plants in their turn depend on the soil, to which the remains and excretions of all living beings return, thereby closing the circle of substance and energy as is usual in nature.” He also stated: “Life only proceeds from life and never from mineralisation (i.e. from artificial fertiliser).” He developed a microbiological soil test, the Rusch test, that determines the composition and quality of living substance in the soil, something that cannot be determined with purely chemical methods. The well-known modern writer Herwig Pommeresche puts it in stronger terms in his book “Humussphäre”: “Biology has given up in the scientific development of agriculture. The technological agricultural sciences unfortunately have nothing in common with ecology. This realisation is sufficient to justify our speaking of tremendous incompetence.” The soil is teeming with life. Agricultural methods should take advantage of it instead of stamping it out. Professor Norman T. Uphoff of the Cornell University, USA, introduced the System of Rice Intensification, first pioneered by a Jesuit priest, Father Henri de Laulanié. The system is based on the soil’s endemic or natural capacities. Uphoff wrote in the 2009 October Issue of the Scientific American (under “Soil Welfare”): «« Plants could not have been growing in the earths soils for more than 400 million years without the soils micro organisms. Ironically, the use of inorganic fertilizers can suppress roots' and microorganisms' production of the phosphatase enzymes that are essential for making phosphorus available for plant use. This inhibition is similar to the way that adding inorganic nitrogen to the soil diminishes the production of nitrogenase by plants and microorganisms to sustain their fixation of atmospheric nitrogen, which becomes available for plant nutrition. There is usually ten, twenty, sometimes even thirty times more phosphorus in the soil than the amount in “available” forms that plants can readily utilize. The large amount of unavailable phosphorus is continuously, though relatively slowly, converted into available forms through the activity of soil microorganisms, many of which are known as phosphobacteria. »»
In the autumn 1984 issue of “Kultur und Politik”, Rusch proposed the following: «« Biological truth is not discovered through prior calculations but comes – so to say – from ‘coincidence’. In reality, then, we only discover it if the Spirit, who stands above us, cooperates with us. Science without belief – no, that does not exist, not under any name. Be respectful of life – every tiny piece of life is prepared to serve us. We cannot go on destroying life unpunished – with pesticides and suchlike – in order that we might remain in life. (4) And though a doctrine such as this cannot be proved with a scientific law, it is nonetheless true. »»
The Eleventh Commandment Thou shalt inherit the holy earth as a faithful steward, conserving its resources and productivity from generation to generation. Thou shalt safeguard thy fields from soil erosion, thy living waters from drying up, thy forests from desolation, and protect thy hills from overgrazing by the herds, that thy descendants may have abundance forever. If any shall fail in this stewardship of the land, thy fruitful fields shall become sterile stony ground or wasting gullies, and thy descendants shall decrease and live in poverty or perish from off the face of the earth. “The Eleventh Commandment”, written and broadcast over the radio by Walter Clay Lowdermilk in Jerusalem during June 1939, was dedicated to the Palestinian Jewish villages whose good stewardship of the earth inspired this idea. In 1938 and 1939, Walter Lowdermilk, an assistant chief of the US Soil Conservation Service, made an 18-month tour of Western Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East to study problems of soil erosion and land use. The research was done by his organisation at the request of a congressional committee. The main objective was to gain information in the interest of soil conservation in the United States.
Rusch turned out to be destined to be appointed head of a gynæcological department. To the disappointment of his mentor, Professor Von Jaschke, he volunteered for military service when the Second World War broke out. He did this out of a feeling of duty. He served as a staff doctor with the German air force and was posted to Sicily and Crete. After being captured by the Americans he ended up in a camp in Ludwigburg, where he noticed that some prisoners were completely unaffected by the diarrheic epidemics that raged there. This intrigued him a great deal: those unaffected were always farmers. Along with the saying “the bacterium is nothing, the nutrient is everything” he came to the conclusion that it was the life force of their diet that protected them from illness. He also noted that they always came from farms where primitive agriculture was practised. It was the start of a career that would make him famous forever.
3 – The soil is our real capital
During his course Dr. Müller continually emphasised the enormous importance of the soil as bearer of the basic life force (das Lebendige): «« The farmer does not know the true value of his enterprise. His real capital lies not in his buildings nor even in his animals, but in the soil! That is where his concern should lie. But who is? What we despisingly call waste matter and excretions serve as food for the soil organisms. All the farmer needs to do is to guarantee the conditions under which they flourish. Within the layers of soil the metabolism, a form of digestion, must take place in such a way that none of the valuable residuals are lost. The formation of stinking gas means a loss of energy and material that could have been used for the metabolic
process. In the end, it is the bacteria, the moulds, the yeasts and other life forms, such as insects and worms, that ensure that the plants’ arteries – their roots – can absorb the nutrients that have been reduced and transformed into useful components. This all occurs in a coherent process that we will probably never fully understand. And we do not even need to understand it provided that we, the farmers, create the conditions under which it can happen. Here a clear distinction is required between ærobic and anærobic processes (processes that need or that don’t need atmospheric oxygen). For this reason liquid manure should be spread over the fields in dry weather, so that it does not penetrate too deeply into the anærobic layers of the soil (see Appendix). Soil needs to be handled lightly, and certainly not flattened with heavy tractors, nor should it be ploughed unless there are serious reasons for doing so, since ploughing puts the ærobic processes under the ground and moves anærobic life to the surface, thereby creating chaos with an enormous death toll among the life in the soil. True enough, nature sets it all to rights once again, but in so doing, so that each soil stratum once again fulfils its vital function – first the processing of the waste products in the ærobic biotope to be followed by further processing in the lower anærobic layers – a great deal of valuable time is lost that could have been invested in the production of vital nutrients suitable for absorption. The crops in the fields that absorb the vital substances serve cattle and humans as food to provide them with rude health, for life brings life forth in a neverending round dance of giving and taking.»» (5) These words spoken by an inspiring speaker still resonate in my ears as if it were yesterday.
An historical overview Courses are still given at the Möschberg and “Kultur und Politiek” is now on its 62nd annual edition (www.bioforumschweiz.ch). The Ernte-Verband in Austria and Bioland in Germany are based on the Müller-Rusch method. Despite Müller’s objections (he did not wish to be on an unequal footing with biodynamic agriculture) an umbrella organisation called BIO SUISSE was established in Switzerland with the successful trade name of Knospe from 1981. In 1989 Müller’s organisation too joined BIO SUISSE. It can be said that thanks to Dr. Müller at present 98% of Swiss alternative farming is organic-biological, and is by any measure economically subsistent (an annual subsidy is granted of approx. € 500 per hectare). It is absolutely erroneous that modern agricultural techniques, such as taught at the University of Wageningen in The Netherlands, are essential if the world’s population is to be supplied with food! In 1978 the Müller-Rusch method in Switzerland accounted for 1/3rd of one percent. A great deal has changed since then. Organic farming is currently practised on 1/7th of the total area farmed in Switzerland plus Liechtenstein, the highest proportion in Europe; in addition 80% of the farmed land is subject to ecological standards laid down by law. Biodynamic agriculture was developed in Switzerland in the 1930s, in the Goetheanum, the centre of the New Age apostle Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925). This method has been forced into the background in its country of origin. Things are different in The Netherlands, with the trade name DEMETER. The Müller-Rusch method would appear to have emerged victorious in Switzerland, Austria and Germany on the grounds of the solid economic argument and the transparency of the method, which is supported by a way of thought that closely matches up with the Christian view of life.
We can thank Frau Müller for the varied applications of the mineral-rich “primitive rock meal” (a kind of finely ground marlstone) since she used it from the first, following an ancient farming tradition. During my course we went on an excursion to a mixed farm, of which I have retained an unforgettable memory. In the stall with something like thirty cows it smelt almost as fresh as outdoors. The cows' excreta fell into small ditches where the water was kept in motion with small propellers so that all the components of the manure were kept in regular contact with the atmospheric oxygen. Thanks to the ground marlstone (a handful per cow per day) in this biosphere all the decay components in the manure were retained, including even the volatile substances. You could hang over the ditch with your nose and still not smell any cow manure, proof that even the volatile substances had been captured.
« Bauernheimatschule & Hausmutterschule Möschberg », Grosshöchstetten, established in 1932 Now a hotel for courses and seminars serving organic-biological agriculture
4 – The intestinal flora constitute the ‘soil’ of our existence
When we examine “the organic-biological agriculture” (also called the Müller-Rusch method), we can draw a striking comparison with the human digestive process. A major part of the process happens before we take in the food. After that, it continues in the mouth and the stomach and bowels. Did you know that the intestines/bowels of an adult are inhabited by 100,000 billion bacteria (the intestinal flora) – ten times as many as the cells of our body? The fecal matter consists mostly of microbial bodies. (6) Our true health capital is to be found in our intestines/bowels! That is the basis of our existence. It is there that the final change takes place whereby the food we ingest is turned into vitalising substances that can be directed to our bloodstream. Healthy intestines mean a healthy body. And the opposite is also true: just as the soil can become sick with poisonous organisms that hinder the strong growth of plants, so can our intestines attack our health. In order to enjoy good health all we have to do is the ensure the right conditions in which the micro-organisms in our intestines and stomach can flourish – organisms whose name (‘flora’) is a little unfortunate since ‘flora’ means ‘plants’…
At birth a suckling has sterile intestines. The first organisms to settle there are ærobic bacteria, to be followed later by the anærobic. In an adult only 1% are ærobic. The composition of the intestinal flora is different in each individual. And it changes continually under the influence of environmental factors and eating habits. The average human colon contains over 800 species of microbiota and has no less than 5,000 to 35,000 different strains, including about hundred pathogens (that cause sickness). But before they can do their work, the balance between the different microbiota is often disturbed by a consistently wrong diet that contains for example too many refined sugars (as in soft drinks). It is only after our micro-ecological system is disturbed that harmful symbionts can grow out of all proportion; healthy intestinal flora is capable of keeping harmful moulds and pathogenic organisms in check, an observation that set Dr. Rusch on the path to-
wards organic-biological farming. The intestinal flora is a good example of symbiosis: A produces the nutrients for B, B for C, C for D and D for A. This also involves moulds. Moulds are microbes that are not necessarily harmful. On the contrary: many moulds are necessary for life. A tiny piece of blue cheese in baby food is extremely healthy.
Nature fights back: bugs devour GM Monsanto corn with a vengeance By Tony Isaacs, Natural News - June 22, 2012 GM corn by Monsanto, designed to kill western corn rootworm, is reportedly being devoured by those pests with a vengeance. Due to heavy reliance on the genetically modified (GM) crops, the tiny rootworm pest has overtaken fields, outsmarting the genetic engineering that was supposed to keep it away. The GM corn, launched in 2003, is engineered to produce a protein, known as Cry3Bb1. It was engineered from a bacterium known as Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. In theory, rootworms ingest Bt corn roots in which the ingested protein ought to be fatal. However, recent reports indicate that pesticide-resistant rootworms are showing up weeks earlier and act more voraciously than ever. Eliezer in a reader comment: In the fullness of time the germ or insect will defeat any intrusive attempt in nature to compensate for the degradation of its milieu. The ‘recyclers of nature’ are only doing what they are designed to do: recycling defective and minerally deficient organic material through the operation of the carbon cycle. The divinely appointed system of law and order will prevail over scientifically induced chaos. As French microbiologist Antoine Béchamp (1816-1908) stated: “The milieu is everything, the germ (or insect) is nothing”, meaning, the microbe responds to defects or deficiencies of its habitat. The microbe or insect, by-en-large, passes by a healthy plant or body. Plant a garden, and the life will come!
As already stated, a great deal of the digestion precedes ingestion. Who ever thinks of cooking as being a way of digesting food (ever tried eating a raw potato?) and that the accompanying ingredients are sometimes already partially pre-digested? The most important function of the preparation of food in the kitchen is pre-digestion. Taste is actually secondary, although a ‘full taste’ can be an indication of the nutritional value of the food. Processes comparable to the formation of humus also take place with food, which is called fermentation. To take a few examples from a long list: yoghurt is a form of pre-digestion (7), just like butter, cheese, sauerkraut and well-hung meat (8). It is of course not only pre-digestion. In the fermentation process valuable nutritions are created or augmented as well as vitamins. (9) And there are the fermented drinks such as wine and cider. A product that should not be underestimated is sourdough bread. Grain products are important since they constitute a major part of our nutrition. In the Jewish culture all meals are bread-based, even the main course: meat and vegetables are extras. And that is how it will have been in the Old Testament times. Here the following remarks are not out of place. The previous sections could create an impression that it is all so simple, but nothing is simple in God’s work. Thus beer is made from sprouting seeds and the unhealthy soybean becomes suddenly very healthy in form of sprouts. Brown (unhusked) rice lies heavy on the stomach unless the germination process (in living rice grains) has continued for one to three days – just soak in water: the actual sprouting or putting forth of shoots is later, so that it undergoes a transformation comparable with that of caterpillar to butterfly. Although the adult human body easily absorbs milk, apple and grape juice, ordinary meat and unsprouted rice, such products in an evolved state make a much greater contribution to robust health, even if only due to their beneficial effect on the micro-ecological system of the intestines.
5 – Not a makeable creation
It is fascinating to see how everything fits together, how Man participates in the cycle of living substance, whereby the activity in soil offers a wonderful metaphor for the working of the intes-
tines. Once you realise this, you are brought up short, since you then realise how the creator and bearer of life has organised all of this. And of course, what I am now doing is committing heresy, heresy against the notion of evolution. This theory assumes that everything has come into existence thanks to the competitive struggle between different species, causing the primitive life forms to evolve into higher forms of life over billions of years, from the imperfect to the less imperfect. It is up to us to improve the world, to help coincidence a little. This is a self-congratulatory challenge whereby Man believes that he has in some small way become God. But the basic assumption is wrong. For the single-celled life of a bacterium is absolutely not that of an undeveloped life form! It is also a flagrant contradiction of Genesis 1:31: “And then God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good.”
I would now like to quote from the well-known Artscroll Series: «« Munk reformulates this verse as follows: ‘And Elokim willed all He had completed to be one entity, and this now became now apparent,’ (…) As the Vilna Gaon explains: “Something can be ‘good’ when fitted to another thing. The divine works of creation, however, are good in themselves and also together with others (…) From the combination of these elements arises a lofty and new character, which is not present in the parts but only in the whole (called nowadays ‘the emergent property’). This verse includes the creation of those destructive (and ill-making) forces (10) which, when viewed in context with the rest of creation, are necessary and integral.” (This is obvious because the expression) ‘behold’ always introduces us to something new … that whereas each unit of creation was considered ‘good’ in isolation, now when creation was complete and all of its units were perceived as part of a whole, it was recognized as ‘very good’. »»
The extracellular matrix Many micro-organisms do not live as the isolated cells we are accustomed to observe as cultured cells suspended in a fluid droplet, which condition does not reflect the microbial environment we commonly encounter in nature, where they adhere to various wetted surfaces in organised colonies that form amazingly diverse communities. Bacteria grow in tiny enclaves, called micro-colonies, in an environment - the extracellular matrix - which they create for themselves and that consists of twice the volume of the bacteria themselves. Just as a fertilised egg gives rise to varied cell types during foetal development, with bacteria too this differentiation takes place after they alight on a surface. They synthesise communication molecules, reminiscent of the pheromones and hormones of insects and animals, applied to co-ordinate the construction of micro-colonies within the framework of a sophisticated architecture. The design allows nutrients to flow in and waste products to flow out, inviting comparison to the circulatory systems of the higher organisms. In some biofilms, multifarious bacteria combine to digest nutrients that by a single type could not be fully exploited. These observations suggest that what most biologists have long viewed as the lowly developed bacterium, may in fact occupy a much higher rank in the scheme of life than was ever imagined.
In the ways the medical world, modern agriculture and our food industry work I have seen as leitmotif that the powers-that-be start from the assumption of a makeable world, preferably with fantastic technological achievements, while there is no need of this. For example: the medical world seems to have forgotten that the greatest contribution to public health has been – and still is – improvement in personal hygiene, a system for providing clean water and a sewage system. A start was made on the latter as early as in the 18th century. My family speaks with pride of a certain Baron of Heemstra who saw to it that a sewage system was laid in Baarn and the surrounding area. Such measures fit perfectly with the rules of hygiene that are prescribed in the Old Testament. Where today is there respect for Nature, whose dependent companion we are? Man should fit in with the divine plan of creation; with all his efforts being put into serving rather than subjecting, into arranging rather than controlling, and into managing rather than dominating. Instead of which we have come to see Nature and ourselves as objects to be exploited, while we simply happen to be stewards. And as such we do not have the same rights as an owner. The rights of ownership are with God. The highly civilised human no longer feels drawn to Nature. Going for a walk or lying on a beach – that he likes. Man has entered a tyrannical struggle against an almost defenceless Nature. Man has become unnatural and no longer knows what is good for Nature, nor for himself. And these things are interconnected: hence the modern gift of metabolic diseases, which is not a punishment from God. He has not had to do anything: we do it to ourselves. Since the effects of a wrong way of life sometimes appear after generations (as some experiments would seem to suggest) it is all too easy to speak always of genetic diseases – if such is the case – as the ‘cause’ of the illness. Whatever the case, the matter is too complex to seize with experimental tests, since everything is linked together. We are now experiencing an ‘in vivo’ experiment, one that is being carried out world-wide. We cannot be too optimistic about the outcome.
6 – No denatured food
In the years when I was concerned with my lifestyle and eating habits I believe I discovered a number of rules governing a healthy way of life. First of all: “Nature is our doctor and teacher”. A doctor serves to heal sicknesses, but things are a little different with Nature. Nature serves primarily to keep us healthy or ‘whole’. This is also the main function of eating food. Whoever fails to take this into consideration and makes gods of his taste buds and belly is setting himself up against God’s order. ‘Healing’ is related to the word ‘whole’ and should really be called ‘rehealing’: once again making whole or complete – or, to put it briefly – to make holy (linguis-
tically the words ‘whole’ and ‘holy’ are related). (11) Nature also helps to heal, but that aspect – though very important – is not the object of our attention here. (A couple of interesting facts from the Germanic languages… In the Dutch word genezen (= to heal) the second component (nezen) originally meant to maintain, to feed or to save. Now if the ‘z’ in nezen is replaced with an ‘r’ (a not unusual transformation) we get the German word “nähren” (pronounced ‘neren’), which also means to feed.) The implication of “Nature is our doctor and teacher”, is first and foremost that we should appreciate Nature for what it is. In the biblical book of Leviticus the following could have been written: “Thou shalt partake of no denatured food.” It is, however, not easy to determine what ‘denatured food’ means. Genetically manipulated food definitely: the fact that we have not yet been able to uncover its bad characteristics proves nothing, for it is a new science. And the category also covers refined foodstuffs, known popularly as ‘empty food’. The empty food category comprises sugar and pure starch, including white rice. But starch and white rice are far better than sugar because they do not contain fructose of which only small quantities should be ingested (granulated sugar is a disaccharide of glucose and fructose). As a side dish white rice is perfect, but it should not constitute the main ingredient of our daily food. Ever wondered why pure sugar and starch are scarcely subject to decay – if at all? Even vermin does not like it. And that says a great deal. Sugars and starch in their natural environment – that is a different story. Rancid food can also be considered denatured. Margarine also belongs to this category because the trans-fats that it contains are harmful to our health. The way that vegetable oils are hardened (hydrogenated) has nothing to do with ‘natural’! I have my doubts about the impartiality of research trying to show that margarine is healthier than butter. With regard to white rice, little children in poor families in Asia may go blind through vitamin deficiency because their parents feed them exclusively on white rice. But who cares? Now, as regards bread… The usual way of baking bread until the mid-19th century was by using sourdough. Some enthusiastic readers will probably now wish to transfer to sourdough bread, but I warn you: you will be the worse off because your digestive processes are not tuned to it. Such a thing requires a gradual change. A vegetarian who suddenly starts eating meat and a carnivore who suddenly goes vegetarian will not feel good. Every change needs adjustment. The rule also excludes the artificial sweeteners as used in all kinds of soft drinks; aspartame is not good. (12)
The divine laws are accessible to reason “In the preceding pages (of God’s Banner) we have attempted to show that the Banner of God – of which Psalm 60 speaks – is none other than the free acceptance of the divine plan whereby reason makes efforts to discover and approach with respect the laws that govern our Creation (…) The divine laws appear to be contained in natural matters and thus accessible to reason (…) In addition there is such a thing as divine Revelation which perfects the natural laws by giving them a supernatural dimension that exceeds the powers of our understanding (…) After having determined this, we would like to fix your attention on the second banner, the enemy banner that stands against God’s banner and is wrong to its very core. This banner represents the revolt against God, the very rejection of God and therefore of His plan and therefore too of the laws that lie enclosed in Nature. In the end it comes down to a rejection of the truth, since in fact everything revolves around the problem of truth. The rejection of truth does not necessarily express itself as an aberration, for such can be the result of an incorrect conclusion based on a wrong observation or thought process. It is the basic assumption itself of ‘the unique truth’ that is denied, the reality-linked truth of the object in question. Those who gather under this other banner replace a realitylinked truth by a relative truth, one that always assumes a personal ideal that someone has discovered in his own thoughts.”
From “L’étendard de Dieu” (God’s Banner) by Daniel Raffard de Brienne Lecture et Tradition, February 1988, p. 38
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7 – I’m fine
Nonetheless you will catch me occasionally eating white bread or a Chinese meal with white rice and a chocolate to finish off. And you may see me drinking a Cola-Light (nice taste!), but I do not regard such things as food and take them exceptionally. White bread (and what is known as ‘brown bread’) is Sunday bread. It’s nice to have a change of taste every now and then! But during the week I always eat sourdough bread. It’s like with the Bible: whoever eats exclusively the white bread of the New Testament will suffer from anæmia, since the basic spiritual food is and remains the Old Testament. The Reformation movement ensured the necessary re-balancing here. “How is your health?” you may ask me. “Have you derived any benefit from your beliefs?” Answer: my health is fine. More than nine years ago we left Hilversum (our adopted sons were then twelve) and in all that time we have never visited a doctor (a dentist: yes) and also have never used alternative medicine. I still remember the schoolteacher who was annoyed because our son did not even know his GP’s name. She regarded that as a negative sign. But we kept our mouths shut. This does not prove I am right, but it does prove that we are doing nothing wrong. O yes, the boys once caught the measles and then we had to call the doctor. Aspirins or paracetamol? Yes, we use them, but that is all – apart from the odd vitamin pill. Hubert Luns
[Published in “Profetisch Perspectief”, Autumn 2007 – No. 56]
“The Cloud and the Tree”, Möschberg
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In his struggle against organised godlessness… (1) As early as June 1933 Nationalrat Hans Müller and 15 other signatories submitted a motion in parliament in his struggle against organised godlessness in Switzerland. Although the motion (For the preservation of the cultural image of our country and for the protection of religious peace) was passed with a large majority, it was never followed up. Official recognition was difficult (2) Writing in the jubilee issue of BIO SUISSE (25th/26th August 2001) Werner Schneider, President of VSBLO / BIO SUISSE from 1981 to 1993, indicated a few high points in the history of the movement: «« When in 1971 Dr. Hans Müller put in a request from the “Bio-Vegetables Galmiz” (in the Freiburg Canton) to the Confederation’s Food Committee that organic agriculture be accorded official recognition, the scientific subcommittee was charged with the study of the question. Anyone who can remember the position of organic farming in the agricultural world of that time will not be surprised to hear that the answer was negative. Differences, said the subcommittee in 1974, cannot be determined and thus “the concept of ‘organic product’ in relation to food should be forbidden”. Discretion prevents me from naming the members of the renowned institute. Some of them later changed from Saul to Paul and – note well – without the aid of genetic manipulation! »» (Article title: “Aus der Geschichte der BIO SUISSE: Fakten, Episoden und Anekdoten einer erfolgreichen Bewegung”) (3) Frau Dr. Müller wrote a book at the time that is still available: “Bauern-Heimatschule mit der Freien Landbauschule für organisch-biologische Wirtschaftsweise”. Soil, in a trough of death (4) I am firmly convinced that life in the soil is so weakened after decades of ‘doping’ that it will not be long before it goes into its death throes and the disastrous state of the soil will become obvious to everyone. People will then speak of an incomprehensible phenomenon… but for the stupid everything is incomprehensible. A period of recovery is required (5) We should not be persuaded that the transfer to organic-biological agriculture is without its problems. Wherever decades of soil exploitation have taken place we need to take a recovery period into account. Life is astoundingly resilient, so the recovery will take only a few years before farming once again becomes economic. Nonetheless, the Rusch test can show that sometimes a continual improvement in the life of the soil continues to take place over decades. The flora represents a virtual organ within an organ (6) Resident bacteria outnumber human somatic and germ cells tenfold and represent a combined microbial genome well in excess of the human genome. (…) Bacterial density increases in the distal small intestine, and in the large intestine rises to an estimated 1011–1012 bacteria per gram of colonic content, which contributes to 60% of fæcal mass. Source: “The gut flora as a forgotten organ” by Ann M O'Hara and Fergus Shanahan - EMBO Reports # July 2006 (pp. 688-93). Collectively, the resident flora represent a virtual organ within an organ with a metabolic activity in excess of the liver and a microbiome in excess of the human genome. Source: “The hostmicrobe interface within the gut” by Fergus Shanahan - Best Pract. Res. Clin. Gastroenterology # Dec. 2002, 16-6 (pp. 915-31). The first bacteria come via the mother’s milk (7) The lactobacillus and the bifidus bacteria are passed on to the infant via the mother’s milk (I read somewhere: the mother infects the baby) and they ensure – among other things – that the milk is turned into yoghurt. Types of yoghurt made in this way are available in supermarkets. It does not take rocket science to work out that a yoghurt culture that fits a human being of its very nature is the better alternative.
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Beef too is hung to ripen (8) It is not usual to hang meat (allow it to ripen) for a long time in the meat industry, mainly because this drives up the costs of refrigeration. The fact that it is possible is shown by an advertisement for Fontijn High Quality Meat (Weesp, Netherlands): “Our ripening cell, built according to American standards, has an optimum climate so that the meat ripens slowly in a natural way. This is accompanied by a certain development of bacteria, so that the enzymes released ensure the correct breakdown of proteins. Controlled ripening over a period of one to four weeks makes the meat exceptionally tender and easily digestible.” The infinite wonders of fermentation (9) Pound for pound, fermented material will have more nutrition packed into it than the raw material it came from because, aside from acting like miniature detoxification machines, microbes add heaps of nutrients to whatever it is they’re growing in. Using enzyme power, single-celled bacteria and fungi manufacture all the vitamins, amino acids, nucleic acids, fatty acids and so on that they need from simple starting materials like sugar, starch, and cellulose. They can thrive on foods that would leave us horribly malnourished. But we are bigger than they are. When we eat yoghurt, real pickles, real sauerkraut – or any food containing living cultures – our digestive juices attack and destroy many of the little critters, exploding their fragile bodies. Many survive and protect us, but those who are digested donate all their nutritious parts to us. Though after the fermentation process is finished, foods like wine and cheese no longer contain living organisms, they have been enriched by the life-forms they once housed; Wine has more antioxidants than grape juice, and cheese more protein than the milk it came from. The little critters can acually make all the vitamins we need except D, and all the essential amino acids. And they have one more trick up their sleeve. As if it’s not enough that they can free up minerals, preserve our food, manufacture vitamins, and clean up the nasty plant chemicals our bodies can’t handle, once inside your body they will literally fight four your life.
Taken from “Deep Nutrition – Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food” by Catherine Shanahan MD and Luke Shanahan MFA – Big Box Books, Hawaii # 2009 (p. 146).
What is evil? (10) The creation of factors in God’s creation that lead to decay and sickness could be regarded as evil by some. The working and the function of such factors is not easy to describe, but that is no reason to see them as evil; though sickness can perhaps be regarded as a consequence of evil. And yet the Bible says that God made evil. If we see the relevant verses of Gen. 3:22, Is. 45:7-8, Lam. 3:38-40 and Am. 3:6-7 in their mutual relationship, it appears that by giving us the freedom of choice God has created evil and also has foreseen it, but it doesn’t make Him the instigator of that evil. High and low are, like good and evil, coexistent halves that do not derive from one another but are always there together. They are logically equivalent pair of opposites and the premise for any moral judgement. If, in the ‘world to come’, evil no longer exists, while - still realising what it is - we will not take it into consideration when acting. (11) In the Germanic languages ‘holy’ relates to ‘whole’. But in Greek and Hebrew the word for ‘holy’ (hagios and kadash) is related to unstained and clean. Artificial Sweeteners and its dangers (12) As concerns the dangers of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, one should read “Excitotoxins, The Taste that Kills (How monosodium glutamate, aspartame (Nutrasweet®) and similar substances can cause harm to the brain and nervous sytem and their relationship to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s Disease/ALS and others)”, by Russel L. Blaylock, M.D. – Health Press, USA # 1997. According to George R. Schwartz, who wrote the foreword and is the author of “Bad Taste” (1988), this is a landmark work, a milestone, akin to the remarkable books by Rachel Carson published in the 1950’s and I tend to agree. But to see that happen in the eyes of the public, first the power of the commercial empires has to be broken.
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Compulsory injection of manure damages agricultural land
Not long after the publication of my article, there appeared some alarming reports in the Dutch press regarding the damage caused by ignoring fundamental principles of agriculture.
- Wednesday 16th April 2008, in the De Telegraaf national daily - by Richard van de Crommert Wageningen – “The obligatory injection of liquid manure into Dutch fields must end quickly. It is damaging Dutch crops. The mineral and vitamin content is dropping as we watch.” This is the finding of the Stichting Milieubewuste Veehouderij (Environmentally Aware Cattle Farmers’ Foundations), the Team Ecosys consultancy and Aquarius Alliance, a collaborative organisation of farmers and scientists. The agricultural university of Wageningen also believes that current practice is damaging the composition of life in the soil. For the past fifteen years Dutch farmers throughout the country have been obliged by law to inject liquid manure into the ground instead of spreading it above ground. The latter system means that the manure is gradually absorbed into the soil. The muck spreader disappeared immediately from our Dutch countryside. It is a measure unique to the Netherlands. When manure is spread above ground, a substance such as cyanide gas, a component of manure, is immediately neutralised by atmospheric oxygen. In the Netherlands it is neutralised by the oxygen in the soil, so that oxygen disappears from the soil. The community of creatures living in the soil changes when manure is injected. Earthworms, that plough the ground and ensure the presence of oxygen in the soil, are killed. Moles leave the scene. The ecological system is turned on its head. It is not just crops that suffer: our fresh Dutch milk has lost its quality because of manure injection. The grass in the meadows is poor in minerals and contains moulds and bacteria that can cause damage. It contains too much nitrogen. A cow chewing the grass only produces ammonia. Lack of earthworms means that there are fewer meadowland birds to be seen. The government has never initiated studies to see what consequences the injection of manure has on public health. It would now seem that the consequences are alarming. The national Consumer Organisation states that it would seem that substances such as selenium are scarcely to be found in our vegetables any longer. Selenium has proved effective against various types of cancer. “Currently one in three of the Dutch population has cancer. That is by far the highest proportion in the world”, states Paul Blokker of the “Vereniging tot Behoud van Boer en Milieu” (Association for the Preservation of Farmer and Environment). Meindert Nieuweboer, a dairy farmer in Noord-Holland province, says: “The soil is the plants’ digestive system and constitutes the basis of all our food. And thus indirectly of our dairy products and meat.” Marian Stuiver of the University of Wageningen, who graduated a few weeks ago on the subject of the policy on manure, believes that the government should consider permitting the spreading of manure above ground, at least on a regional basis.
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«« If we go on like this (warns Blokker) we are endangering public health. The average Dutch person lacks zinc, iron, selenium, copper and magnesium. And has a serious shortage of Vitamin A. In many vegetables there is no Vitamin C any more. And here we’re talking about crops grown in the open, such as cauliflower, carrots and endives. It has been removed over the last fifteen years. Our greenhouse vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, are still nutritious. The mineral and vitamin content of food has been going down over the whole world, but it is happening more quickly in the Netherlands than anywhere else. »»
THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Thursday 19th April 2008 (by: Co Scholten) The remarkable loss of vitamins from vegetables has caused alarm in parliament. The political parties VVD, CDA and SP are asking for a clarification from the relevant ministers – Verburg (Agriculture), Cramer (Environment) and Klink (Public Health). “I’m shocked”, was the reaction of VVD member Janneke Snijder. This week a number of organisations, quoted in De Telegraaf, linked the injection of liquid manure in the soil and the falling mineral and vitamin content of vegetables such as carrots, cabbage and chicory. In the early 1990s, under pressure from the environmental lobby, farmers abandoned the muck spreader in order to combat ammonia emissions and thus the formation of acid rain. “From the start many farmers warned that manure injection damaged the life in the soil”, says Snijder. “It didn’t help a bit. People were focused exclusively on the aim of ammonia emissions and so injection was adopted without a blink. Now some real basic study needs to be done.” Minister of Agriculture Verburg denied the story via a spokesman. “It’s like the storks-and-babies study. The fact that the number of storks in the countryside has diminished and that fewer babies are being born doesn’t demonstrate cause and effect”, said the spokesman. Moreover he pointed out that manure is not injected into the soil for crops grown in the open field but it is worked into the soil by ploughing (as if that made any difference!). Land and Horticulture Organisation LTO wished to state that fresh vegetables are still the food with the greatest nutritional value, but confirmed that soil fertility is decreasing. “We said years ago that soil fertility would be damaged by the policy on manure and now believe that the law needs some adjustment.”
Blokker points the finger at changes in the soil, which damage the crops. “Why is there an explosion of diabetes in the Netherlands?” he asks. “Because we are undernourished. Diabetes is well on the way to becoming public illness number one.”
The Dutch laboratories studying the soil, such as the BLGG and the ALNN, confirm that the mineral content is below minimum target levels.
Peter Takens, adviser to the “Vereniging tot Behoud Boer en Milieu”, adds:
«« Tables published by the “Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu” (Government Institute for Public Health and Environment – RIVM) show that the health of products grown in our soil is dropping fast. In good soil a great deal of oxygen is required for an optimum conversion of nutrition for the plant. In our oxygen-poor soil, nitrogen is converted to dinitrogen monoxide (nitrous oxide/laughing gas), which is to a considerable degree responsible for the greenhouse effect and thus global warming. Laughing gas causes three hundred times the damage caused by CO2. »»
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Obligatory injection of manure fatal for our cattle
- Saturday 19th April 2008, De Telegraaf national daily - by Richard van de Crommert
Utrecht – The Dutch dairy farmers are seeing damage to the health and resistance to disease of their cattle. Vets are finding it difficult to identify the causes. The farmers are afraid that it is one of the consequences of the obligatory injection of liquid manure, which leads to poor soils and to a diminution in the quality of the grass. And that has consequences not only for the cows’ health but also for the quality of the milk.
No fewer than 40% of all dairy farmers are seeing calves with diarrhoea, says beef cattle farmer Herman Beeker. “Take a look at the cattle markets. It’s enough to make you weep.”
Chris van den Anker in the province of Utrecht has seen fourteen of his cattle die as a result of the
changes in the soil. “We spent ages looking for what was wrong with my cows”, says the dairy farmer. “We even called in the people from the Hogeschool Utrecht. Finally the Health Inspectorate suggested that my cows are suffering from slijtersziekte (wasting disease), a kind of umbrella term for unclear symptoms. He would far prefer not to have to perform the obligatory manure injection procedure, and occasionally he tries to manure his fields using the old method, with the muck spreader. This causes the manure to penetrate the ground more slowly and feed the soil rather than poison it. But the General Inspection Service, the Environmental Police and ordinary police do their best to stop him from doing that.
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Van den Anker has already been hauled into court and found guilty five times. But in recent times the courts seem to be confused. Some cases have been dragging on for years.
«« I called in a soil specialist. We took various samples of grass from my land. And it turned out to be nothing but poison. By spreading the manure above ground I’m doing something forbidden by law, but at least it’s not simply bad for the soil. »» Manure injection puts two poisonous substances into the soil: sulphite and nitrite: «« We dairy farmers are therefore obliged to use a method that kills our animals in the worst case scenario. We are obliged to pollute our land from which our cows eat the grass and from which people indirectly drink the milk. Try justifying that. »» Over the past ten years there have been more than three hundred court cases based on aboveground spreading of manure. But there have never been any studies done. For this reason the Utrecht district court has, in a few cases, not pursued the farmers involved. Not much is known about the consequences for Dutch milk. “Our milk is tested for protein, but not for the presence of minerals”, says Van den Anker. Various sources allege that one dairy factory in Friesland is not always able to kill of all bacteria by pasteurisation, leading to the rejection of litres of milk. On Wednesday, together with an article about lack of vitamins and minerals, we published the Vitamin C content of a number of vegetables. The figures were taken directly from official publications of the Consumers’ Association and the Nutrition Centre (Nevo). However the Consumers’ Association states that its figures concerning the Vitamin C content of vegetables should not be compared to Nevo’s figures. “We measure vegetables from the supermarket. Nevo measures vegetables directly fresh from the land.” “This is a remarkable statement on the part of the Consumers’ Association”, says Paul Blokker of the “Vereniging van Behoud van Boer en Milieu”. “Because Nevo just happens to have taken the figures of the Consumers’ Association and used them in its own tables. The 2006 Nevo table has exactly the same vitamin values for most vegetables, and Nevo states that the figures are from the Consumers’ Association.”
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