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By Didjeridurian, 2012-07-02
Where along the way did humans develop a fear of dirt? It seems that as a culture we have an unhealthy obsession with sanitation and sterility that is quite ironically making us all very ill.
There was a time in history when a massive portion of the human population was in jeopardy due to the abhorrent conditions of the average living quarters. The main issue then was the inability to manage the waste. There was no system in place to remove the waste from the cities and bacterial infection was ravaging the populations. A narrow retrospective glimpse would seem to prove that exposure to human waste will inevitably lead to widespread plague-like disease and greatly weaken the health and condition of the human population.
With the great advent of the plumbing system we seem to have solved this so-called problem and sure enough the sanitation issues of those dark times no longer plague the civilizations of the world. Unfortunately it is not that simple, and the short sighted band-aid that we call plumbing has not really ever been reevaluated since its inception.
Sure the concepts and practices of the plumbing system have advanced and evolved technologically through the years, but our philosophies surrounding the so-called need for plumbing and its potential detriments have never been revisited. If we had reopened this investigation, perhaps we would have focused more on the diet content, food quality, and lifestyle practices of these ages and how it impacted the overall health and immunity potential of those afflicted. Perhaps the bacterial presence in the waste was symptomatic of something much more significant and the plumbing band -aid was just an early from of symptom treatment and a chance to pat ourselves on the back for fixing naturewell get to that later.
First, we must understand that despite our overall sense of detest for human waste, it is absolutely critical to the flourishing health of any ecosystem and therefore critical to the human body. Remember, nothing in this natural world is really waste. In other words nothing is produced in vain and everything has a value in the biological scheme of life. It may sound silly to say this, but our waste is how we give back to the soil that bore us our fruits and vegetables.
What do farmers and gardeners use as fertilizer? They use the waste of animals such as cows, chickens, and horses. Animal waste is rich in nitrogen and many important minerals. Even the bacteria present in animal waste has an important role in the breakdown of manure into soil. Thats right; animal waste doesnt just enrich the soil, it actually BECOMES soil. In fact, certain plants such as the banana plant, are actually so keen on nitrogen that you can plant them directly into a pile of manure and they will thrive. Of course bananas are the exception to the rule and most plants cannot handle that much nitrogen. Nevertheless, manure is quite valuable in the creation of rich organic soil; soil rich in minerals and health promoting bacteria.
So that being said, why do we have such an obsessive need to remove, destroy, and sterilize such a valuable commodity? Why do we see animal waste as black gold while detesting and fearing our own? First, what is waste? We must examine the process of digestion and how feces is formed.
Our waste is the product of our digestion, and our digestion is merely the manner in which we extract the elements of nutrition from what we consume. Digestion is a clean and simple process in which our digestive juices and enzymes act upon the food we eat to break down the nutrients into simpler and simpler forms for absorption into the body. This process in meant to be swift and efficient; leaving the final product of digestion to be much like the source. In other words, our bowel eliminations should be a close approximation to a masticated form of our collective meals.
The natural process of digestion does almost nothing to effect the superficial qualities of the food we eat. Our stool is merely the pulp of the digestive process, analogous to the pulp you would have in the basket of your juicer after extracting the nutrients for your juice, except in the case of digestion the stool is now carrying a host of friendly bacteria that will continue to break down the waste as it returns to the ground where it belongs.
Why do we think our waste to be detestable? If we have a reason to detest our waste; if we have foul smelling, bacteria ridden stools, then SOMETHING IS WRONG. One of the most unhealthy and destructive collective misconceptions of culture is that Human waste is foul. As a society we have accepted this to be a rule of convention, yet it couldnt be more wrong. Foul stools are symptomatic of poor health and an indicator of a poor diet. We must disregard the dogma of convention and think about it logically. What could be going on in the digestive process that would transform something that was originally delectable enough for us to desire into something so foul that we are embarrassed and ashamed? The answer is, NOTHING. Nothing in the natural digestive process can create this phenomenon and, in fact, foul stools only occur when this natural digestive process is impeded by improper diet.
The conventional belief of innately foul stools cannot be unchained from the conventional practice of animal product consumption. Without delving into the interminable argument of whether or not we are naturally omnivorous, let us just briefly speak to the anatomical and physiological facts relevant to this topic. When meat, eggs, and dairy products are left in a very warm and moist space we all know what to expect. None of us would leave a piece of animal flesh in a kitchen cabinet for over 8 hours on a summer afternoon because we would expect the flesh to rot very quickly, and to become quite foul and virulent. We know what kind of dangerous bacteria and parasites rotting meat can harbor. So why is it that we have no reservations about putting a piece of flesh into the soaking wet, ninety-eight degree internal cabinet of our GI tract where it can sit for over 20 hours? Why arent we concerned about the putrefaction and contamination involved; and when the stinky rotting corpse comes out the other end, why cant we make the connection? For whatever reason, we do remain willfully ignorant to the true nature of this process and instead make an unspoken pact as a society to consider the foul results of this practice a conventional inevitability;Poop just stinks. Who can argue? And who could question such a thing without becoming an arrogant elitist who walks around like his shit doesnt stink
Of course it wouldnt be fair to exclude the obvious fact that even a vegan bowel movement is not immune from such distaste. Time and time again I feel the compelling urge to remind my readers that just because I believe the healthiest diet to be a vegan one, I dont by any means consider all vegan diets healthy. I must always restate that there are many examples of how a certain type of omnivorous diet can be much healthier than a certain type of vegan diet. Any time there is a disruption of our natural digestive efforts, bacteria and pathogens heed the call. The results of poor food combining and consuming pathogenic foodstuffs can lead to the fermentation of sugars and the putrefaction (rot) of even plant based fats and proteins. This is the cause for the foul stools of the average vegan.
Since the issue of detestable waste permeates the whole spectrum of food choices, it is quite a challenge to convince society that we must return to our natural ecological cycle of consumption and elimination. In fact, perhaps it would be more appropriate to reverse the order of that simple phrase so that instead of elimination being perceived as a product of consumption, we can see a perspective of the food we consume being a product of our elimination.
Soil as we know it, rich organic soil, is a product of decomposed waste. Whether that waste is fallen leaves, dead branches, fallen plants, or animal waste, it will all naturally become new soil. More to the point, it is impossible to think of a soil that is not a product of such a process.
How ironic does it become when we passively allow a society to burn or dispose of yard clippings, create elaborate plumbing and violent chemical-based treatment systems, legislate the mandatory removal of vital decomposition mediums, and then all the while rant about our concerns for the demineralization and nutritional depletion of our soil. Moreover, instead of pursuing the eradication of these outdated and misguided practices we look to even more manufactured technology; even more alienation from our own ecosystem as a solution for this issue. While we continue to throw our own fertilizer quite literally down the drain and send our yard clippings to the dump, we look to the supplement industry of refined and synthesized nutrients, b-12 shots, and the industrial and economical imperialization of rainforest superfood strongholds to save us.
The solution is easy and at all of our fingertips. All we have to do is return to our natural ecological relationships. We can begin reciprocating to the soil that feeds and nourishes us by allowing all of our organic waste to return to the ground. Everything from our yard scraps, fallen leaves, branches, pulled weeds (bury pulled weeds in brown matter to prevent seed spreading), kitchen scraps, and yes even our bowel eliminations can be composted and used to revitalize the soil. You dont even need a fancy bin. A simple pile will work just fine.
I know, you are still psychologically plagued by stigmas surrounding the waste issue, and thinking of keeping a pile of your own waste in your yard is either terrifying or ridiculous (or both). Perhaps youve even heard the myths about the health risks of using composted human waste for edible plants. In fact, many advocates of composting toilets even warn against using the composted waste for vegetables and instruct us to use it only for flowers and trees. However these advocates and experts in composting are not necessarily consuming a healthy plant based diet or inclined to understand the intricacies of human digestion.
As we have discussed, human waste that is a result of a poor diet and/or improper digestion can be quite foul and even poisonous because it contains many of the harmful toxins and bacterias that were a product of its improper breakdown. However we shouldnt mistake this process as the norm and we should understand that eating a properly combined plant based diet produces waste that is nearly odorless, rich in minerals, and teaming with all the friendliest bacteria ready to return to the decomposed state of soil.
Have you ever heard the B-12 supplementation arguments made by even some raw vegans? They tend to conclude through their fear based rants that B-12 supplementation is absolutely necessary and attempt to dissuade the reader of any natural alternatives by phrasing them in a very loaded way. Theyll tell you that if you want to get your b-12 naturally, you will need to eat your own feces. What a way to phrase that point; what a visual that brings to us. We are meant to think of an un-evolved primitive wretch sitting naked on a rock eating fistfuls of his own stinky feces instead of logically working out what this all means biologically and chemically. If we use a very simple composting toilet and let our waste decompose naturally in a proper compost pile, the waste will decompose and become soil. Although it has now taken a new superficial form, the b-12 producing bacteria is still intact and present in the soil. When you use this soil to grow your food, you are ipso facto eating your feces and therefore naturally getting your b-12 and many other soil based nutrients. Furthermore, the storage of the composting waste is not a problem when the diet is clean and plant based because there are no odors or bacterial issues. We do this with horse, cow, and chicken waste all the time; why is human waste sounding so ridiculous?
The fact remains that the process of elimination and consumption is a vital and integral part of our ecosystem, our human/plant co-evolution, and our overall health. We cannot overlook this necessary and amazing process of soil production. Returning the waste to the soil is our end of the natural relationship between us and our planet; it cannot be circumvented, replaced, or synthesized. Just remember that your sensual perception of your waste is a reflection of your diet and lifestyle, so if you perceive your waste as foul then you must re-evaluate those things before you abandon your ecological relationships and sever one of your most intimate ties with mother nature.
Learn more about composting toilets and build one for less than $20 from this video.
By Didjeridurian, 2010-03-31
Humans are surely a part of nature as you pointed out, but that doesn't mean that everything we do or can conceieve of is natural.
To your point that we are able to adapt to our environment... I need to strongly emphasize the distinction between "ADAPTATION" and advancement/growth. Just because a creature adapts to certain circumstances, it does not mean that adaptation is favorable. In fact, adaptation often degrades a species ability to thrive and jeopardizes the survival of that species. Just take digestion as an example. The human species has gone through a great deal of adaptation in terms of adopting a diet that is radically out of sync with our physiology and our biology. From the secretion of salivary and gastric juices to the production and delegation of pancreatic enzymes, our bodies have developed very clever and effective ways of neutralizing the toxixcity that the average "civilized" diet creates. From generations upon generation of eating processed perverted foods, the average human body has redistributed the majority of digestive activity to the mouth in an effort to strengthen its first line of defense against the pathogenic substances that we consume. The body has also adapted to enlarge our pancreas for the production of an exponential amount of digestive enzymes needed for autolysis. These adaptations are a protective measure that are meant to be employed in times of crisis like famine, drought,or some other temporary natural occurence. These adaptations are not meant to be permanent by any means. Digestion in the mouth is highly ineffective for human species. There is very little digestion possible in the mouth as we only contain very small amounts of the starch enzyme amylase in our saliva which is only meant to break down the unreleased sugars of fruits and vegetables. When our body redirects the digestive energy to the mouth, it is merely attempting to neutralize the harmful elements present in the food but not to catalyze absorption. In fact the opposite is true. Most food items that are heavily processed are unidentified in the body and treated as invasive. The digestive system borrows resources from the imune system and acts upon the invader in an effort to shroud it in white blood cells to be escorted out of the body immediately through the skin, urine, or bile. These processes often result in the creation of putrefactive gasses, acetic acids, and sulphuric acid. When the body enlarges the organs of elimination and enzymatic production, it is adapting to the process of eating foods that are devoid of their own enzymes. All fresh foods contain the enzymes needed for the total breakdown of that particular food. Fruits which are high in sugar contain enzymes like sucrase an maltase. When we process the foods in any way at high or low temperatures, or expose them to oxygen, the enzymes are destroyed. Without the integrated enzymes of the food our body must create the enzymes needed for the digestion of this food. This seems like a very clever and effective method of adaptation, but it is actually quite detrimental to the rest of the body. Enzymes are responsible for every single metabolic function in the body from cell growth to thinking. When we are constantly draining our limited and very finite enzyme reserves we are stealing that energy from the rest of the bodily functions. This reduces our capacity to repair tissue and maintain clean blood and cells. This leads to epidemics of degenrative disease.
Nature is a set of intrinsic and SELF ENFORCING laws or principles. One cannot argue the natural value of something without simultaneously citing the effects of such activities. Anything could be seen as natural in a very subjective way because if something did not ultimately come out of nature, then where could it possibly have come from? The real question is how does it effect the homeostasis of the natural world. Even the most pure natural substances can create catastrophic outcomes when applied without regard for natural law (aka science). Every aspect of behavior must be considered. One of the biggest problems with these types of quandaries is that convention is disguised as "normal". Often times we concede to unpleasant or pathogenic phenomena as neccesary or unavoidable. This removes the possibility of real human evolution and advancement. Disease is the outcome of living outside of the principles of nature. When I use the word nature in this context, I simply mean the optimum way to preserve health and vitality. This can be measure objectively by performance. You make the point that people are the only animals that cook their food and your argument is that other animals have not mastered fire as we have. You imply that perhaps other species would cook if they in fact were able to acheive our mastery of fire. Your theory is valid, however it takes a great deal more than "ability" to prove a natural law. A very simple point I would like to offer is that we are the only species that cooks our food and adapts to our habitats. We are also the only species that shows epidemics of degenerative disease and utter destruction of that very habitat. Getting back to adaptation... we have adapted over many years, many generations to these protective measures, however if one returns to correct physiological living, the functions of the body wil return to normal nearly immediately. Studies have shown that the adaptive measures of digestion will cease just as soon as correct eating is resumed.
You question the nature in the activities you enjoy. You enjoy reading,as do I. However, what is reading other than pondering the expression of another mind and other perceptions. Could we not achieve the same satisfaction from social discussion with a wide spectrum of men and women? Wouldn't this also strengthen our human fellowship and create a more universal dialogue? Don't instruments exist all around us all the time? My didjeridu was made for me by termites in a eucalyptus root. The first instruments were made in nature from only what could be found. Tools are not natural or unnatural. It is the application and intention of these tools that really matters. What is the purpose of the method? What is the thorough evaluation of the outcome? How does it effect every other aspect of our inner and surrounding environments? is there a better alternative that better addresses all of our needs across the board?
Our inventions and "civilized" methods often keep us trapped in the perpetuation of these methods. Why do we have to work at something arbitrary in order to gain a "currency" with which we buy food, clothing, and shelter? Why don't we spend that time and energy growing food, creating clothing (when and if neccesary) and building shelters (when neccesary). Everything that is NECESSARY to our survival comes for free. Our civilized system is failing and is relatively brand new in the scheme of humanity. Our imperialistic desires bring us to uninhabitable climates and force us to violate the principles of nature for our survival. We narcisistically fear the demise of our species which ironically is what most threatens the viability of our existence.
This is the tip of the iceberg in this discussion. The discussion will live itself out in the observance of nature and our place in it. Everything that is, is of nature, and nature will always prove beyond doubt whether or not soething will be sustained.
I conclude my thoughts with this quote:
"We start the resurrection of man by reconstructing the paradise, planting fruit trees, vineyards, and gardens as our new residence. We bring not only a scientific system of healing based on natural laws, but a regeneration, a complete ressurection of the flesh by water, air, spirit, and by the divine food of "God", i.e., fruits."
Prof. Arnold Ehret 1905
By Didjeridurian, 2009-10-20
By Didjeridurian, 2009-10-15