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An astounding new study  just published in the highly regarded British Journal of Nutrition , a leading peer-reviewed journal published by the prestigious Cambridge University Press, has found highly significant differences between the nutritional content of organic and non-organic foods.
This study, which will undoubtedly trigger a massive shift in public perception, performed meta-analyses of 343 peer-reviewed publications and ostensibly supersedes the well-known Stanford study of 2012 (which compared 240 studies and concluded that the health benefits of organic foods were “unclear”, despite agreeing that “consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria”). 
The new BJN study found that in addition to being 48% lower in highly toxic cadmium, organic foods were between 18% and 69% richer in antioxidants. Antioxidants are highly important nutritional substances which have been linked to a reduced risk of numerous chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers.
Here’s the breakdown of the study’s findings regarding the increased antioxidants in organic food:
Phenolic acids 19% higher in organic foods (potential protective role against oxidative damage diseases i.e. coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancers)
Flavanones 69% higher in organic foods (linked to reduced risk of several age-related chronic diseases) 
Stilbenes 28% higher in organic foods – this group includes the highly regarded resveratrol, thought to extend life
Flavones 26% higher in organic foods
Flavonol 50% higher in organic foods
Anthocyanins 51% higher in organic foods (anthocyanins have a huge number of potential health benefits – thought beneficial against cancer, inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, bacterial infections, age-related neurodegenerative disease, hypertension, liver disorders, dysentery and diarrhoea, urinary problems, kidney stones, urinary tract infections, colds, flu, pain, neurological disorders, cataracts and macular degeneration).
Another massively important difference between organic and non-organic foods was found by the BJN study: That organic foods were found to be four times lower in pesticide residues. This shouldn’t really be a surprise – as organic food is supposed to be pesticide-free (though it does hint that some producers of “organic” foods might be cheating and using pesticides – suggesting that more stringent testing should be employed in order to evaluate organic crops.)
Why Chemical Agriculture Gets It Wrong
Despite this hugely important topic not being widely understood, is actually not difficult to grasp. But we need to delve into the history books and unravel a sequence of world-changing events in order to do so…..
Justus von Liebig (1803-1873), a German chemist, is regarded as the “father of the chemical fertilizer industry”. Prior to von Liebig’s time, vegetable compost and animal manure were added to soils in order to enrich them and produce healthy plants, and crops were “rotated” in successive years to maintain soil fertility (ever since at least 6000 B.C.)  And prior to that we existed in the pre-agricultural age, where we were living in the environment that our bodies were evolutionarily designed for (but that’s another story)…
Von Liebig discovered that plants feed on nitrogen compounds and carbon dioxide derived from the air, as well as on minerals from the soil . He deduced that nitrogen was supplied to the plants via ammonia which originally came from animal manure, urea or vegetable compost – and sensed the possibility that this nitrogen (together with phosphorus and potassium – “NPK”) could thus be added to the soil artificially in the form of chemicals. He did so and found that it accelerated plant growth. It was not however observed until much later that chemical fertilization destroyed soil quality, with the consequences of both drastically lowering plants mineral content and also making them more prone to diseases and pests.
Liebig’s work grossly oversimplified the complex topic of plant nutrition and he made gigantic errors of assumption. He neglected the role of humus and completely ignored the soil microorganisms that perform vital functions in living soil such as chelating minerals from rock and rendering them into bioavailable form (able to be absorbed by plants and assimilated by humans and other animals), and such as strengthening plant immunity to sickness. He saw soil merely in the “dead” chemical terms of the materialist scientists of his day; as a “storage bin” of minerals and nutrients from degraded rock, that was simply added to and subtracted from, like an accountant’s balance sheet. Liebig argued that there was no chemical difference between living and dead chemical processes  and even stated “There is not the shadow of a proof that either [humus or humic acid] exerts any influence on the growth of plants either in the way of nourishment or otherwise”. 
Part of the problem of this early work on soil was that “many of the early workers were geologists because only geologists were skilled in the necessary field methods and in scientific correlation appropriate to the study of soils. They conceived soils as mainly the weathering products of geologic formations, defined by landform and lithologic composition.”  Thus it was that soil came to be seen as “dead”; in their eyes not “biological”, and equivalent in composition to bedrock.
Nothing could be further from the truth and “true” natural soil is now known to be teeming with life. The artificial introduction of chemical fertilizers (and then pesticides) to the soil were later found to have shifted its vital balance, killing the microorganisms responsible for the mineral content and the disease resistance of the plants. But by that time, it was too late…
Chemical Agriculture’s Hundred-Year Legacy Of Death
As a result of Liebig’s work, chemical-based agriculture was born – and with demonstrations of faster plant growth immediately after the artificial introduction of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK), a huge industrial propaganda machine developed from the foundations of this half-truth, with farmers being told that without these chemicals, their plants would not grow. Liebig also developed what he called a “superphosphate” by processing bone with sulphuric acid. Sulphuric acid became the first of these chemicals produced on an industrial scale, followed by the “Alkali” of Britain’s United Alkali Corporation (founded in 1891). 
In 1905 another German, Fritz Haber discovered a world-changing process (named the “Haber Process”) which could create ammonia (NH3) on an industrial scale from the free nitrogen in the air.  Ammonia was critical to numerous chemical processes and the Haber Process was implemented on an industrial scale in 1913. From ammonia was created nitric acid (HNO3) – via the Otswald process . Nitric acid was then recombined with ammonia to create ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) – which was both a major chemical fertilizer and a key component in the manufacture of explosives. Thus the chemical companies then created massive amounts of chemical fertilizers, explosives and the poison gases which killed hundreds of thousands in WWI.
Haber and the other chemical manufacturers made such vast amounts of money from WWI and were so confident in the power of their technology that they were completely disinterested in returning to the “old” way of doing things. Agriculture was now booming as agribusiness – and a big business it was. After WWI, the huge stockpiles of leftover poison gases were sprayed on insects  and the leftover nitrates were dumped on crops in unprecedented quantities – weakening their resistance to insects and creating a vicious cycle: The pesticides also killed the bacteria that pulled the nitrogen from the air, thus further depleting the quality of the soil. When crops started to fail, the manufacturers instructed farmers to simply increase the amount of NPK they put on the fields. More profit for them – and even sicker plants that then needed even more pesticides. Bingo…
Here’s where the story gets even darker: Several powerful German chemical companies amalgamated in 1925 to form I.G. Farben, which became the largest chemical enterprise in the world. I.G. Farben was openly pro-Nazi and funded the rise of none other than Adolf Hitler – who of course kicked it back to them and made them even richer through his massive purchases of explosives and the atrocious poison gases of WWII; which included the terrible Zyklon B gas used to kill millions of Jews and other “undesirables” at various extermination camps during the Holocaust. This is a highly important point of history as it illustrates a perfect example of the old game – the “fascist” collusion between corporations and warmakers – and the twist in the tale is that it was also exposed in 1941 that I.G. Farben had connections to USA business entities. They had formed a “marriage” cartel with John D. Rockefeller’s United States-based Standard Oil Co.  – illustrating that financial powers “on both sides” profited enormously from the wars no matter what the outcome.
The world’s major chemical companies – including Du Pont, Monsanto and Dow – got vastly rich from World War II. Huge profits were funneled from US taxpayers to chemical companies to pay for the vast amounts of munitions and poison gases used – including for example the million tons of bombs dropped on Germany alone. And once again, after the war, the vast surpluses of this manufacture were channeled into fertilizer and pesticide manufacture and dumped on fields. DDT – originally developed to keep soldiers free from fleas and lice – began to be used like water on the fields – followed by chlordane, heptachlor, dieldrin, aldrin, agent orange, endrin, alachlor, glyphosate and more.
During this post-war period, ironically-named the “Green Revolution” of the 1940’s to 1960’s (it has nothing whatsoever to do with the modern concept of “Green” as meaning ecological), powerful business interests extensively influenced the replacement of the old practice of crop rotation and shifted agribusiness into a massive expansion of development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, with enormous increases in synthetic fertilizer and pesticide use, combined with distribution of hybridized seeds to farmers.
But growing the same crop in the same place for many years in a row heavily depletes the soil of certain nutrients – leading us into a scenario with ever-increasing chemical use together with plunging nutritional quality of food and increasing malnutrition, despite a huge “food mountain”.  An abundance of food does not mean in any way that the food has the nutritional value that it should have. In fact, in modern agribusiness it means quite the opposite – with obesity and malnutrition now coexisting.
Is it any wonder that mineral content of the modern, bland, watery, flavorless agribusiness-provided foods is a minute fraction of what it once was? Obesity is at an all-time high (as people attempt to stuff themselves in order to get enough nutrition), and sicknesses such as heart disease and diabetes are manyfold higher than they have ever been in our history.
Chemical companies are literally the bringers of death. In so many ways… from war chemicals such as TNT, Agent Orange and Zyklon B, through to pesticides such as alachlor, glyphosate, 2,4-D, DDT, 2,4,5-T and of course the ever-vastening array of pharmaceuticals – and now GMO crops. Their business is the business of killing – whether human, insect or microorganism – and of making a killing in the process. They collude with governments, manipulate politics, dodge responsibility, select only the science that serves their interests and make vast profits – leaving a swathe of death in their toxic wake.
Now we have hideous chemicals such as glyphosate – which has not only insecticidal but also antibiotic properties; killing off the microorganisms in the soil and now even being thought to contribute to antibiotic-resistant disease!  The corporate technologists still do not see the “connectedness between all things”, and that if you apply “chemicals of death” to the soil and plants, you end up imbibing that very same death. We are all part of the web of life and as the wise old Indian Chief Seattle said, what you do to the web you ultimately do to yourself. If only people would see how very true and how very wise, his words are now showing themselves to be.
Why Organic Agriculture Gets It Right
In direct contrast to the work of Liebig and his successors, there was other work being undertaken in the field of organic agriculture that demonstrated that contemporary chemical agriculture destroys the “living” aspect of soil. However this work has been systematically ignored and marginalized for the last 100 years by the vast enterprises able to wield the big money of the chemical and war industries…
Organic agriculture, broadly, takes an opposite approach to the chemical approach. Its tenet is that agriculture should be a science of life, not a science of death, and that you do not generally improve things by killing something. Is it not obvious that applying the force of death does not increase the force of life? A Holistic approach implies that all things are connected and that by killing one aspect of nature, we are ultimately killing ourselves.
Vasily Dokuchaev (1846-1903), now considered to be the originator of the true topic of soil science ,  (p.119) developed the view that soil was a living body and not just a dead “chemical storage bin”. Dokuchaev’s work was in stark contrast to the 20th century “soil science” of agribusiness, which was almost entirely funded by the chemical industry and concerned with large-scale profits rather than unproven negative health consequences.
Dokuchaev laid the foundations for soil microbiology and for the now marginalized but critically important work on lichens. It is lichens that are responsible for the chelation of minerals from rock, rendering them into bioavailable form and enabling them to be absorbed by plants and utilized by humans and animals.  (p.121-127)
Lichens are among the organisms destroyed by pesticide and chemical based agriculture. Is it any wonder, then that in 1950 an apple contained 26 times as much iron as an apple in 1998?  It is the minerals that are responsible for the great flavor, deep color and nutritional quality of organic produce. Ask someone who was around before the 1950s what they think of the taste of fruit and vegetables nowadays compared to what it was like when they were young. Modern produce is massively mineral-depleted and utterly flavorless compared to that of the 19th century. 
British botanist Sir Albert Howard (1873-1947) is considered by many to have been (together with Rudolf Steiner and Eve Balfour) one of the key founders of modern organic agriculture.  (p.xviii, introduction) Howard was awarded the title of “Imperial Chemical Botanist to the Government of the Raj” in India and was thus free to carry out agricultural experiments of all kinds, without restraint. His research led him to conclude that soil health was absolutely critical to plant, human and animal health, and he observed that a regular introduction of freshly made humus (from animal and vegetable wastes) was the most essential factor in soil management. He studied forest soils as examples of a “perfect model” and pioneered ideas that eventually led to permaculture – which is essentially a thriving system where everything is designed to be at its “most alive”. (Doesn’t it seem obvious that we, too will be at our most alive and most healthy if we perform agriculture in this manner? We are not separate from our environment.) Howard demonstrated that animals fed on organically grown fodder were disease resistant and that not only this, but crops grown in humus-rich, properly tended organic soil were more pest and disease-resistant, and people who eat those crops are more disease free.
This is a highly important departure from the philosophy of chemical agriculture and Howard wrote “The moment we introduce a substitute phase in the nitrogen cycle by means of artificial [fertilizer], like sulphate of ammonia, trouble begins which invariably ends with some outbreak of disease”. 
Sadly (and ironically), our old “friend” von Liebig actually came to this same conclusion towards the end of his life. However by then, the chemical companies were in full swing and there was far too much money to be made to worry about strange things like soil quality and the then-unknown long-term health effects of dumping millions of tons of chemicals on the landscape… Now, exactly a hundred years since the beginning of WWI in 1914, we may perhaps begin to see at last the monumental errors of those ways.
 “Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops” – Br J Nutr., Jun 2014. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24968103
 “Secrets Of The Soil” – Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, Harpers & Row 1989.
 “New Analysis Concludes Organic Food Really Is Healthier” – Dr. Mercola, July 29th 2014
 “How to Bring Minerals Back Into the Soil and Food Supply” – Mercola, May 25th 2014
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