The Ancient Paths Family Farm

Getting Back to Basics in Health and Nutrition

Archive for December, 2007

Whole Foods Vs Modern Chemistry

Posted by theancientpathsfamilyfarm on December 23, 2007

Not too many decades ago we found the miracle of chemistry. We found, and believed, that we could attain better nutrition through modern chemistry with synthetic nutrients. We also found the wonder of prepared foods in the form of canned goods and prepared boxed meals (“just add water”). We began to “enhance” our foods with the miracle products from the chemistry labs and we expected to see positive results in our health. We expected modern chemistry to revolutionize our health and nutrition industry.

What we found was that our bodies were not responding the way we expected. Our bodies just didn’t quite know what to do with these materials. Some of them were processed by our bodies well and others, not so well. We expected to see a healthier society and to experience a surge of energy and stronger immune systems, as well as clearer skin and less disease. But cancer rates, diabetes, heart related disease, kidney disease and a wide assortment of chronic pathologies have been on the increase throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century. We may be living longer than in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s but we were not necessarily much healthier. The medical industry was designed to treat disease and there have been some incredible advances, but their client base is not shrinking. We are not getting healthier. So what’s the deal?

At some point we, as a society, decided that processed and packaged foods that are enhanced with synthetic vitamins and minerals were better for us than natural food with natural vitamins and minerals. They say that it takes roughly 20 years before we see the effects of our health-related choices. That means that it would take 20 years to see the effects of our fast-food diets enhanced with processed meals laden with the results of the latest chemistry project. We have seen disease rates increase steadily and we have been left scratching our heads in wonder. Really, we need to look back farther than we tend to. It takes a while before disease tends to develop and sometimes disease is found too late to prevent long term damage.


I am sure that you have heard about “whole foods”. If you’re like me at all, you’ve wondered what these whole foods are. Basically, whole foods are just as simple as it sounds. Think of a “whole apple” or a “whole carrot”. If you’ve eaten a whole apple or a whole carrot, you’ve eaten whole food. The concept behind whole foods is that when we consume natural foods, and a variety of them, that we will naturally fill ourselves with the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients that we need. But the concept of whole foods is more than just an apple or carrot. It’s about the things we eat not being refined. When we cook our carrots we destroy many of the nutrients that are in them. When apples are processed in a plant to make applesauce or apple juice, much of the nutrients are destroyed. Here are some quotes about whole foods:

Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed. Examples of whole foods include unpolished grains; organically garden-grown fruits and vegetables; unprocessed meat, poultry, and fish; and non-homogenized milk. For some it is preferable to eat whole foods raw to obtain the maximum nutritional benefit.

Whole foods are “real” foods, complete with all the nutrients, enzymes and probiotics nature intended, that have not been highly processed, synthesized, or irradiated. Whole foods are foods in their most complete, balanced state and do not contain harmful chemicals and additives. Additionally, whole foods are unprocessed and unrefined; or processed and refined as little as possible before being consumed. Whole foods are also remarkable for what they don’t have, including added sugar, salt, fat, or chemicals.

Now we don’t always eat our “5 a day” of fruits and vegetables as well as the grains that we’re told that we need. Really, how many of us eat according to the food guide pyramid? This is where the idea of supplements comes in. Supplements are intended to supplement our diet. We cannot hope to eat garbage all the time and then take “magic pills” expecting not to experience the negative effects of our poor health choices. But if we live and eat well, working to put wholesome food on our plates, and use good supplements, then we can expect to notice a difference in how we feel. In 20 years we just might find that our bodies have been healthier than others and hopefully we will experience less disease than our peers. So what about whole food supplements?

By definition, whole food supplements are foods that have been compressed into tablet form, poured into capsules or powdered. The word “whole” indicates that the end product — a supplement — does not contain parts of foods, or synthetic or isolated vitamins. Ideally, the foods comprising these supplements have not been subjected to irradiation, contain no pesticide or herbacide residues, contain no GMO (genetically modified organisms), have not been sterilized, and do not contain animal products that have been subjected to steroids, antibiotics or other drugs. The belief being, the closer to nature, the more benefit foods provide the consumer.

Whole food supplements should not contain isolated minerals, amino acids, carotenes or any other substance that is not native to, and still intact within, the original food. Thus, a supplement that contains foods plus a mixture of isolated (also called “fractionated”) vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other substances, does not constitute a whole food supplement. Examples of whole food supplement ingredients may include carrots, broccoli, kale, alfalfa, wheat grass, acerola cherry, cauliflower, kelp, wild pansy, spirulina, bovine liver, bovine kidney, radishes and quinoa.

Our family uses whole food supplements on a regular basis, and we feel better. Not only do we feel better but we have experienced some exciting things related to our health. The nasty virus mono ran through our house this fall. Half of our family came down with it – verified by lab tests. I was preparing the family for a few rough weeks waiting for a full recovery. But within 7 days, the sick ones were back to normal. Can you believe it? I still can’t! Within 10 days they were running at full steam and nobody could believe that these healthy people had recently been diagnosed with mono. No work was missed, no school was missed. Amazing. And what do I contribute that too? Being healthy. We eat as healthy as we can, we drink a lot of water and we do take whole food supplements. Our bodies have been given what they need in order to do what they were created to do – rest and restore.

What supplements do we use? You can find them here here.

Doing what we can to ensure that our families stay healthy is probably the best thing we can do impact our society – less medical needs and expenses, fewer sick days from work, stronger children and more.


Whole Foods at Wikipedia

Whole Food Supplements at Wikipedia


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Natural, Non-Toxic Cleaners and Personal Products

Posted by theancientpathsfamilyfarm on December 19, 2007

Smoke Stack Does this make you think of “clean”? household cleaners - toxic

Some of the worst culprits contributing to environmental pollution are found right under our noses – under our sinks even. Petroleum based household cleaners can contribute to air and water pollution and consumers are often concerned about potential health problems stemming from the use of such products. There are alternatives to the traditional cleaners that are safer, cheaper and just as effective.

What are common ingredients in traditional cleaners?

  • Ammonia is toxic when inhaled in concentrated vapors and is considered a hazardous waste. Ammonia is found is all-purpose cleaners, glass cleaners, laundry detergents and metal polishers.
  • Chlorinated cleaners can be especially toxic. Some cleaners contain dioxin, a known carcinogen that can build up in the food chain, is stored in fat, and is believed to affect the endocrine system. Chlorinated materials are used in bleach, dishwasher detergent, and toilet bowl cleaners.
  • Glycol ether is a central nervous system depressant and can poison the kidneys or liver. It is often found in all-purpose cleaners and some laundry detergents as well as personal products, more info is listed below.
  • Oxalic acid is caustic and corrosive to skin and mucous membranes. It is commonly added to cleanser, toilet bowl cleaners and metal polishes.
  • Petroleum-based detergents contain neuro-toxins and central nervous system depressants. Exotic-sounding chemicals like nonyl phenol and alkyl phenol ethoxylates (APEs) are found in detergent, furniture polish, cosmetics and household cleaners, and contain environmental impurities.
  • Phosphates are added to dishwashing and laundry detergents because it acts as a water softener. Phosphates are released into the environment through waste water and are not removed by waste water treatment systems.
  • Sodium Hydroxide or Lye is in most oven cleaners. It is a corrosive poison and hazardous waste.
  • Formaldehyde is found in some air freshners and deodorizers as well as cosmetics. In its liquid state, formaldehyde, present in the ingredients DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, and quaternium-15, can be absorbed through the skin and nails. As a volatile organic compound, or VOC, formaldehyde evaporates when the product is wet; levels drop sharply once it’s dry. The EPA classifies it as a probable human carcinogen.
  • Ammonium hydroxide and Perchlorethylene or Trichloroethane and Sodium hypochlorite are found in spot removers.
  • Diethylene glycol is found in window cleaner.
bubbly burn
As alarming as the above information may be, it is also alarming to discover what resides in our personal care products – shampoo and conditioner, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, cosmetics, etc. These are things that we use on a daily basis, often times several times a day.
  • Triclosan encourages the rise of drug-resistant bacteria, according to studies.
  • So-called coal-tar chemicals are found in many “FD&C” or “D&C” colors used in makeup and hair dye. FD&C Blue 1 and FD &C Green 3 are carcinogenic, and impurities in other colors — D&C Red 33, FD&C Yellow 5 and FD&C Yellow 6 — have been shown to cause cancer when applied to the skin.
  • Widely used in shampoos, DEA is a suspected carcinogen, and its compounds and derivatives include triethanolamine (TEA), which can be contaminated with nitrosamines — compounds shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Contamination is more likely if the product also contains Bronopol.
  • Formaldehyde, listed above, is found in cosmetics.
  • Glycol Ether found in nail polish, deodorant, perfumes and other cosmetics, some glycol ethers are hazardous to the reproductive system. Other effects of overexposure include anemia and irritation of the skin, eyes, nose and throat. Avoid those listed on labels as EGPE, EGME,EGEE, DEGBE, PGME, DPGME and those with “methyl” in their names.
With all of this lovely information at my disposal I have tried to find household cleaners that will not make us sick or leave a negative impact on our property (septic system and livestock or garden) or in the health of our family. Sometimes science can truly be scary!

What We’ve Done In Our Home

Our family has switched all of our cleaning products and our personal care products to basic products that clean just as well as the traditional cleaners. What do we use?

Household Cleaners

  • Instead of a bleach product to clean counter tops, use hydrogen peroxide and water.
  • Instead of a powder abrasive cleaner, use baking soda. Add water to make it a paste to use instead of the liquid abrasive cleaner.
  • Instead of other general cleaning products, we use Natural Green Soap.

Personal Care Products

The Co-Op Advantage: All About Natural Cleaners NCGA

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