If Not for the Planet, Do it for Yourself

September 2-8, 2019

Saving the planet one bite at a time is a pretty tall order, so we better get started. You’ve most likely made the decision to stop contributing to hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico. I suspect you don’t want to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, and I know that you would rather not have pesticide residues in your urine. But how does your commitment to making good food choices, that do help to save our plant, actually impact little ol’ you? 

You are what you eat ate. Be it bovine or broccoli, biology just works that way. As with the carbon cycle on the planet, how your food is reared or raised has a tremendous impact on the nutrients cycling within your own body. 

Humans depend on thousands upon thousands of species of microflora in our digestive track to transform food into cellular building blocks to cooperatively perform necessary functions like living, breathing, moving, seeing, and living life. Our individual cells are not in their 40s or 50s. They are constantly dying off and being replenished as we go along. The replacements come from the food we eat. Inside those cells reside mitochondria: the engine, the heart. The mitochondria in cells need fats and sugars to operate, which also come from food. 

Our human body has complex bio-nutrient cycles that require lots of different minerals, vitamins, amino acids, carbohydrates, and organic compounds that come from food. Some are considered essential, meaning food is the only way to add them to your system. Others come from the microbes in our gut. The microbes transform food into a form our cells can use, so we need to feed the microbes what they need, so they can do their thing. This symbiotic agreement we have with microbes to balance our diets has been worked out over billions of years and is found throughout the Animal Kingdom. Whether we are thinking of a starfish, a salamander, a chicken, or my nephew, the dependence on microbes to provide nutrients is the same.

So, what is the good food our bodies need? In the case of fruits and vegetables, there is mounting evidence that plants grown in microbial rich soil contain more essential nutrients than those grown in dead soil on a petroleum based fertility program. The soils on Elmwood Stock Farm studied by the University of Kentucky researchers, referenced in a previous newsletter, have a high cation exchange capacity. This means the microscopic magnetic field among soil particles is robust, with negatively charged receptor sites playing host to positively charged minerals like phosphorus, potassium, and dozens of others. Combine that with a well-balanced bank of micro-nutrients like iron and manganese, and you have plants with all the nutrients they need. No other inputs are needed. 

Such perfect soil balance can get thrown out of whack when synthetic fertilizers inundate the system offering relatively few minerals. These clog up all the cation exchange sites, and reduce the availability of the micro-nutrients to the plants. When herbicides are applied, they efficiently stop plants from growing which takes away all the microbe’s food supply, leaving the fertilizer alone to supply synthetic versions of those few nutrients. It’s like the difference between taking a vitamin pill versus eating a peach. Plus, the commonly used fertilizers come as salts, which desiccate worms and microbes, a double whammy for sure.

Insecticides and fungicides are applied with the intent of eliminating life forms from the earth, and they are very good at it. By definition, plants raised in these intensive input systems are void of thousands of species of beneficial bacteria and fungi that our human body’s microbial digestive partners are looking for. How can such cells in our gut possibly engineer the nutrients we need without the ingredients they need?

Paying it forward for the planet with your food choices can be enjoyable when it comes in the form of awesome tasting proteins and carbohydrates. You get the nutrients you and your microbiome need to survive, even thrive. Plus, you don’t have to worry about what’s in your pee, or worse yet, what might still be lurking in you. Microbes rule this planet we call home. A healthy soil makes for healthy plants and animals, which makes for a healthy you. – Mac Stone

In Your Share

  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Leafy Greens
  • Microgreens/Shoots
  • New Potatoes
  • Onions, Yellow
  • Rutabaga
  • Squash, Summer
  • Squash, Butternut
  • Surprise Item

Recipes

Check out our Pinterest board for this week’s recipes! https://www.pinterest.com/elmwoodstockfar/recipes-2019-summer-csa/

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