This is a web-book



So what is a web-book? Well it is neither a regular book nor an e-book which is just a regular book in e format. A web-book is a living book which changes with events. It is the exact opposite of a conventional web expecting a 90 sec attention span - it goes deep.
 
library.jpgThis web-book has hundreds of articles and thousands of pages and would just be impossible to sit down and read like a regular book, particularly as it has been written over twenty years and things have kept on changing. So we have a library where you can find what you are looking for.
 
This is arranged on a both date and subject basis so you can go to the library and see that the two latest articles are; -
Choice reviewing the scientific evidence showing that diabetes is reversible and reversing diabetes which give a plan on how to reverse diabetes
 
iconnutrition.jpg And if you want more information from previous articles you can go to Nutrition inside the library and find many articles on nutrition and health which is the real focus of this web-book.
 
And if you want a quick overview go to summary
 
This index page is like a preface in a regular book - it tells you what is in the book so you can go and find the bits that turn you on (and don’t have to plough through pages of stuff which don’t and are probably out of date anyway - but could interest someone else).

This web-book is about what must be among the greatest story of all times - the story of food and humans.
 
ind2.jpg Bugs (or more correctly micro-biology but this is not a politically correct web-book) beat our ancestral creatures to land so when the creatures crawled out of the slime the bugs were ready and waiting and immediately saw that these creature provided a nice warm and safe home with an inbuilt food supply so they took up residency - a beneficial relationship which has lasted many millions of years.
But the bugs quickly worked out that it was in their interest to keep their new home alive - so in addition to helping their host digest their food they set up a control system to tell them when they were hungry and needed to eat, when they were full and should stop eating, when they should store food for a hungry day and when to get rid of any waste.
 
ind3.jpg They also set up a management system for the immune system. When we die our bodies start to decompose immediately - in times gone by some slimy reptile would come along and eat the decomposing flesh so the bugs would have a new home - now we burn the dead bodies together with our helpful bugs - as thanks for keeping us alive and healthy for all our life.

But now we have found a way of killing them off while they are still living inside us and keeping us alive - we call this progress and comes in the form of toxic chemicals which we put into our food and onto our skins, and into our homes and cars.
 
ind4.jpg This is leading to the greatest health epidemic since the Black Death which wiped out two thirds of the population in some locations. We call these chronic diseases and form a long list including diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, dementia, obesity etc.

These are affecting between a third and a half of the population and while we have come to expect that life expectancy will keep on increasing it is now going backward as average age at death reduces.

Now humans have intelligence and we know exactly how to stop this - but will we? No one knows - humans have done some remarkably silly things in their time - we just have to wait and see and that is why we need a living Web-Book so we can watch it like a weekly TV drama.
 
ind5.jpg The story of humans and food really start when the last ice age finished and we climbed out of the trees and started to explore the rapidly forming plains.

We made two particularly important findings - first there was plenty of food on these new plains (which they put into the good basket) and also there were other wild animals which had a great tendency to eat us (which they put in the not so good basket).
 
 (To avoid any argument with a pedantic archaeologist I am assuming that basket making was an early skill of these pre-humans. In information science this is classified as flexible data and is in widespread use in certain professions).
 
ind6.jpg This was a period of very rapid scientific advance - we quickly learned that these animals had particularly sharp claws and teeth and could run much faster that we could so we were easy meat.

New science leads to new technology and the technology these pre-humans developed was the discovery that standing up was good - you could actually see these animals coming before they ate you.
 
They also developed a basic principle that it is not much good knowing something if you don’t do anything about it - a principle which is still not well understood.
 
ind7.jpg So they all sat around and decided that what they need to do was eat lots of nutritious food so they could grow extremely powerful brains so they could invent all sort of protective tools like spears and form organised groups so they could protect themselves from these wild animals.

Actually that is not strictly correct - it just happened by accident - but it did lead to the formation of another principle of science - if you find out something by accident just pretend that it came from your innovative brilliance.
 
So humans learned to feed and protect themselves and carried on a life of hunter gatherers for hundreds of thousands of years enjoying what we imagine to be a happy tribal life. Note you need to imagine it as it was probably pretty awful.
 
ind8.jpg Until (until is a very important word in telling stories) humans discovered that they could grow crops and feed themselves more easily than wandering around looking for food.

What I don’t understand is that humans after thousands of years being hunter gathers humans appeared to discover agriculture in multiple places simultaneously round the world (America, Mesopotamia, China etc.) evidence of an early Google maybe?
 
ind9.jpg But whatever the reason it caused a big shakeup in humanity. They discovered inequality - if you had land you were wealthy and if you had no land you were poor.

This led to another of human’s significant discoveries - war. If enough of you all got together you could invade someone else’s land, kill off the people and take the land for yourself. Then you would be rich for a bit until another mob came along and killed you and took the land.
 
ind10.jpg Despite these difficulties the number of people on the earth kept on increasing exponentially. No doubt there were many people before Malthus who could see that exponential population growth may not be such a good idea.

But there appeared to be a bit of a break in the information chain as people really liked having sex - but hadn’t quite closed the loop that this led to babies - which grew into full sized people which ate a lot of food.
 
ind11.jpg At first this was not was not so much of a problem as there was still plenty of land available and so one of the most significant developments in human history occurred - slash and burn agriculture. This worked fine for a few centuries until all the available and farmable land was used up.

But by this time humans were sorting out the science and technology and thought that this could all be solved simply by producing more and more food from a limited land area.
 
ind12.jpg This appeared to work quite well as food production shot up but as often happens with technology there are social issue that cropped up. Many people are familiar with this as if you do not have a mobile phone you are immediately excluded from modern society and cannot pay freeway tolls or access social security.

It is a bit like the old song ‘ there is a hole in my bucket dear Martha’, if you cannot access social security you cannot get a mobile phone and if you don’t have a mobile phone you cannot access social security.
 
ind13.jpg But for poor farmers the technological divide was even worse - if you could not afford the modern farming technology you could not survive so were forced to beetle off to the local city to find a job but in reality become a bum while - at the other extreme other parts of the food chain become very wealthy.

So as many people became hungry other people became worried that this was not a good way to run the world - for a start it did not seem ethical that some people should be so far into the poverty zone that they were starving while others were enjoying excessive wealth.
 
ind14.jpg History has shown that ethics are not so powerful a motivator - but being killed is.

 It was very quickly realised that gross inequality leads to war - or at least violence and terrorism so the food inequality got serious attention.
 
Many well intentioned people and organisations thought the problem was that we were simply not producing enough food so yet more effort was put into increasing food production - which amplified the problem - when the real problem was in distribution.
 
ind15.jpg We are producing enough food right now to feed the current world population and to cover expected growth for some time into the future. We just waste food rather than diverting it to the hungry.

But a few people - and I was one of these - worried that the this increase in high tech agriculture could be putting unreasonable pressure on natural resources - particularly soil and water.
 
ind16.jpg In the earlier sections of this web-book you can read about my efforts to solve the soil and water problem - not that it had much impact at the time. I developed what I thought was good technology to improve water use efficiency by subsurface irrigation, improved irrigation scheduling and recycling.

This phrase ‘it went over like a lead balloon’ could have been invented to describe how well these technologies were received.
 
ind17.jpgind17.jpg However one of my inventions did receive wide spread adoption - the ‘Wicking Bed’.

This was originally developed to provide sustenance food in time of drought in developing countries and had the overriding virtue of being simple and effective.

Just dig a hole, line with plastics, throw in a few weeds and backfill - just so easy - but no product to sell.
 
However some bright sparks thought the technology could be improved by making it more complex and less effective. This process is called productisation and gives the benefit of providing a product which can be sold for profit.

There are numerous articles on this saga in theWicking Bed section.
 
ind18.jpg But the other twin in the soil and water story is soil which is now taking a much more dramatic course.

There are some pretty dramatic scenes in books like ‘Dirt The Erosion of Civilisation’ by David Montgomery which paints the picture of the earth covered in a thin film of delicate soil which sustains civilisation and describes how civilisation after civilisation collapsed when they destroyed their soil.

Conventional wisdom has it that soil takes centuries to regenerate but I try and show that soil biology can regenerate soil on a much short time scale.
 
icongbiota.jpg But the real impact of soil biology is it is part of the tool kit for restoring gut biology which is a key to fighting the chronic disease epidemic. My work on Wicking beds was not entirely a waste of time as it led to the development of Gbiota beds which is a far superior system - particulalry as it aims to restore gut biology.

For more information got to library
 
ind19.jpg It has separate zones for growing, water storage and composting which allows much greater control. Plants are growing in a biologically active medium which helps the process of restoring gut biology compromised by toxins. It also has the advantage or being suitable for large scale production.

The current project is to set up an eco-village in Yangtou where food will be grown in Gbiota beds and will provide a farm stay for people suffering from diabetes. Guest will be fitted with continuous blood sugar monitoring so we can see which foods and exercise help to reverse diabetes for that particular person.

Why focus on diabetes

 

Diabetes.jpgThe fact that we - or at least our guts - are all so different means we must focus on what works for a specific individual.

Diabetes is just one of a whole family of related diseases like heart attacks, strokes, dementia etc. so why focus on diabetes? It is like a canary as using technology such as continuous blood sugar monitoring gives immediate results of what works or does not work with minimal risks.

 If we can find out what works for diabetes we have a pretty good clue for what will work with the other diseases.

These diseases have exploded in the last thirty years so we need to do the detective work to find out what has changed.

What has changed in the last thrity years?


ind20.jpg Many experts say it is because of the increase consumptions of carbohydrates, sugar or fats. But the fact is these have been around for centuries without cause a major problem. May be we are just eating more than people use to but why are we eating more?

 It is not simply an issue of availability there - is something else at work.
 
My hypothesis is that it is the change in our gut biome which acts as the control system for our bodies. This has been compromised by the increase in toxins in our life - both in our food and our surroundings. The Yangtou experiments will enable us to test this hypothes.

But Yangtou is also a farm so may help us direct the future of agriculture.

You must admit we live in interesting times.

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