Some Observations on the Relationships Between Soil Health
and the Physical and Mental Health of Humans
by Malcolm Beck
Earth, the only planet known to support and sustain life, is home
to many beautiful, fascinating and wonderful forms of life. The vast
majority of these life-forms, both plant and animal, follow their
instincts and live their lives in harmony with nature.
Humans, on the other hand,
have free will as well as instincts. They have the freedom to be stupid,
to be jealous, envious, and greedy. They can choose to make war on
their own kind, pollute the environment, abuse the earth and other
creatures living on it, and even allow abuse and erosion to destroy
the thing that supports all life -- the soil.
Along with free will, humans
were also given superior intelligence. Why haven't we used this intelligence
to learn the ways of living in harmony with the environment and our
Could it be that the body
that houses and nourishes our thinking and learning brain requires
better nutrition than it is receiving?
Animal life is programmed
to seek out the most nutritious foods for both body and brain. Humans
have the free will to decide whether or not to properly nourish their
Poorly nourished people
have unsatisfied cravings, suffer from allergies and degenerative
diseases, and find their thinking and reasoning powers impaired. As
a result of these problems, lack of nourishment effects not only the
person involved but also their associates and people with whom they
The undernourished person
is irritable, discontented, and unhappy. They have less and less ability
to think their way out of their problems.
Could it be that many politicians,
lawyers, judges, teachers, parents and students are not nourishing
their bodies and minds sufficiently to support sane and logical thinking?
We have vast knowledge
of the history of mankind, but for some reason our supposedly superior
intellect has not used this knowledge. Nations are still fighting
nations. Neighbors are still killing neighbors. Now even school children
are killing school children. Where do we look for the answers?
Dr. Lowdermilk's studies,
published in Agriculture Bulletin No. 99 in 1939, tells how soil neglect,
erosion, deforestation, and overgrazing have toppled empires and wiped
out civilizations. At the same time, he learned that careful stewardship
of the earth's resources and soil conservation measures have enabled
other societies to flourish for centuries.
The body (brain included)
must be properly nourished to be healthy and sound. All life on earth
is nourished by a thin layer of soil. The quality of that top soil
is maintained by soil life's ability to use energy from decaying organic
matter and minerals from decaying rock.
Greed has caused humans
to allow much of the food producing soils around the world to fall
below par in organic matter and mineral content. The quality of our
top soil determines the quality of the air we breathe, the water we
drink and the food we eat. If the quality of the top soil is allowed
to degrade to any degree, the life it supports degrades to the same
In the 1930s, Sir Robert
McGarrison, M.D. of England, carried on an elaborate experiment using
more than 2000 clinical animals under controlled conditions. The rats
in one group were fed a near perfect diet. They grew large, were healthy,
lived long and were docile and affectionate. The rats in the other
group were fed a more common diet of polished rice, condiments, very
little milk or vegetables. The diet was chiefly refined foods. This
poorly fed group were sickly, nervous, vicious and short-lived. They
had many of the diseases common to man.
In the 1950s, Warren Walker
did a similar test, using a big group of pigeons. Half were fed polished
rice; the other half were fed brown rice. The pigeons who ate white
rice eventually got five degenerative diseases, stopped reproducing
and started dying prematurely. The pigeons fed brown rice lived a
normal, full, healthy and reproductive life. One unexpected outcome
was that the pigeons on the polished rice became irritable and discontented
long before any clinical ailments appeared.
In 1963, I did an experiment
similar to Mr. Walker's, except I used baby chicks instead of pigeons.
I fed one group on white bread and the other group on whole wheat
bread. The chicks eating white bread quickly became sick, irritable
and discontented. They began dying on the 13th day and by the 17th,
they were all dead. The chicks who ate whole wheat bread never became
discontented or irritable. I kept them on the whole wheat diet until
full grown. They were normal and healthy. I released the hens to our
laying flock, and we baked the rooster for Thanksgiving dinner.
Beginning in 1957, my wife
and I and our five children ate only natural, unrefined foods, most
of which were produced on our own organic and mineral-rich farm. We
had no doctor bills. Our children never missed school because of illness.
The teachers reported that they were well behaved, and they all did
well in school. Because of my own and other diet studies using animals,
I was interested in how diet related to health and behavior in people.
I paid close attention to my children, my sisters and brothers, and
other people I knew well. I noticed that diet does effect, not only
health, but human behavior as well.
In the spring of 1999 I
bought some chicks from a hatchery and did another test. In this test
I fed one group white rice and white bread, the other brown rice and
whole wheat bread. Since white bread is now enriched, the chicks on
it and white rice survived longer than before. The chicks on brown
rice and whole wheat bread, however, also eventually became sick and
started dying. According to Dr. Vestal, DVM of Dodd Animal Hospital
and Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, the chicks on
the brown bread and rice were almost in as bad health as those eating
white bread and rice. The brown bread and rice chicks were mineral
and vitamin deficient except for calcium, and they were also obese.
The chicks on white bread and rice were very deficient in minerals
and vitamins, except calcium.
the quality of our food-producing soils gone down over the past 36
years, or could it be that the chickens we eat and get eggs from are
so far removed from nature that they now need medicated feed and vitamin
supplements to survive?
Modem studies have many times shown that nutrition has an effect on
the behavior of animals and humans. Could the root of all the troubles
in the world be from over-processed, de-vitalized, chemicalized foods
grown in poor soil? Could these facts be too simple to be understood
by our powerful but poorly nourished brains???
of the Land through Seven Thousand Years" is Dr. Lowdermilk's
personal report of a study he made in 1938 and 1939. Despite changes
in names of countries, in political boundaries, and in conservation
technology, the bulletin still has significance for all peoples concerned
with maintaining and improving farm production.
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