Environmental Toxins

Survival in the modern world is becoming more and more difficult. Not only must we navigate the treacherous waters of processed foods (particularly difficult for parents as advertising for the worst food items is aimed directly at children) but also contend with the growing presence of industrial and agricultural toxins.

In this section we look at pesticides and industrial poisons as a cause of SARS–Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome–as well as the accumulation of mercury–one of the most toxic substances on the planet–in our biosphere: in the oceans, in fish, and in our own bodies. Levels of cadmium, lead, aluminum and arsenic are also rising. Add electromagnetic pollution, irradiation, ultrapasteurization, fluorescent lights and toxic additives like MSG and aspartame to the equation and we arrive at the explanation for rising rates of acute and degenerative disease.

How do we protect ourselves against this onslaught? Obviously, the first line of defense is to avoid these toxins as much as possible. That means choosing whole, unprocessed, organic or pasture-fed food, drinking and cooking with filtered water and avoiding the most flagrant sources of poison–saying no to thimerosal in vaccines, amalgam fillings and pesticides in our homes and gardens.

Most of us have less choice when it comes to where we live and work. Nevertheless, we should seek alternatives to jobs that expose us unnecessarily to pesticides and industrial toxins.

None of us can completely escape exposure to toxins–and neither could our ancestors. Smoke is filled with toxins–think of the primitive Gaelics that Weston Price described, living in smoke-filled cottages. Before electricity, smoke from lamps and fireplaces was a constant source of irritants and carcinogens.

Fortunately, many factors in traditional diets help the body deal with toxins. Last issue we read about how gelatin-rich broths helps the liver detoxify. In this section, Eric Davis describes the benefits of a protein-and fat-rich diet in supporting the body’s various defenses against poisons. Lacto-fermented foods provide additional support.

Pesticides work by interfering with vitamin A pathways. Therefore, adequate vitamin A is key to surviving in the modern world. That translates into plenty of butterfat, eggs and organ meats from grass-fed animals with a supplement of cod liver oil to provide an extra measure of protection. Fortunately, mercury accumulates in the protein portion of fish, not the oil, so cod liver oil is clean and safe.

© 2015 The Weston A. Price Foundation for Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts.