Colin Austin © Collective Commons 23 Feb 2015
The human cost of bad diet
I am asking my readers for feedback - not on technology
which I know works - but on human psychology.
||On Wednesday I set of on the 2,000 drive from Gin Gin to
Melbourne to see the specialist for Xiulan - my Chinese wife
- about her foot. The ankle bone has died and we are looking
at either a bone transplant from her hip or a metal heel.
This is a natural result of diabetes which is the commonest
cause of amputations and blindness.
I want to avoid other people going through what Xiulan is
||Fortunately diabetes can be substantially prevented and may
be reversed simply by a high fresh vegetable content in the
diet. Unfortunately sugar is addictive - I wrote about this
||My approach has been developing technology - the wicking
system - which makes it easy for people to grow their own
vegetables in nutrient rich soil.
But getting the right soil is not as simple as throwing in a
few minerals; soil biology is needed to make them available
to the plants. If you have the right soil, with the
minerals, porosity, surface chemistry and wicking action
then making wicking beds becomes very simple and cheap.
Virtually any container which can hold water will do.
Are we winning the diet war?But I have to ask myself how successful my efforts have
been. The answer has both good and bad news. I get a feel of
the success of wicking beds from my inwards email. There are
thousands of people using wicking beds that I know off - and
probably many more that I don’t know about.
That’s the good news - now for the bad - there are two
First most of the questions show that water saving is the
main issue for most people. Now water saving is important
but the key issue is getting the mineral, vitamins, plant
based nutrients - the phytonutrients into our diet.
In the dietary world there is a lot of emphasis on calorie
restriction - honestly this is rubbish - if your body is
lacking the essential phytonutrients you will feel hungry
and sooner or later you will break your diet and end up by
pigging out - often on the cheap and convenient processed
foods full of sugars and fats.
||Calorie restriction simply does not work long term - you
need to substitute the high sugar and fat diets with plant
based foods so you don’t feel hungry all the time.
Secondly I am obviously reaching the keen gardeners who are
probably already eating a healthy diet anyway. But this is
only a small proportion of the total population.
This is obvious from the statistics on diabetes and its
intrinsic cause - carrying excess fat around the vital
organs - the fat tummy. The absolute numbers of fat tummies
may be alarming but what is really alarming is the rate of
increase of fat tummies, particularly among the younger
generation. At this rate it will become the dominant health
issue for millions of people.
We need to get to the majority of the population - not just
a health aware minority.
So what can I do? Well I am just one puny little person so
the reality is not much. But if this became a community
action the story would be very different.
Traditional intellectual property laws were designed to give
monopoly power. The system of Creative Common was developed
- initially in the software industry - to allow people to
share their intellectual property for the community benefit
but still have recognition to their innovative work. I want
as many people as possible to use the technology I have
developed to improve diet and hence health so this is the
system I use.
Anyone can copy any of my publications in part or in full.
Not just ‘can’ but are encouraged. That should however
reference me and my web site as the source.
Again anyone can use the technology for private use, they do
not have to apply for permission or pay any money - it is
all for free.
However if the technology is used for commercial purposes
(e.g. products are sold for money) they need to enter into a
licensing arrangement. This may involve paying a small
royalty, typically about 5%.
Again I want to encourage commercial operations to provide
services to the public. This particularly applies to
Wickimix ® my specially developed wicking bed soil. This may
be difficult for an individual to make for themselves but
having a network of local soil suppliers providing soil at a
low cost without major transport costs would help improve
Gardening clubs may like to produce the soil in bulk for
their members and also assemble Wicking Baskets ® from kits
for sale. Again this encourages wider adoption and may
provide some additional income for the club.
Getting the message outLet me just restate the message we need to get out. We need
to get phytonutrients into our bodies by eating fresh
vegetables grown in nutrient rich soil. Anybody can grow
fresh vegetables using the wicking bed system, even if they
have no previous skills or a large garden.
I cannot afford to compete with the billions of dollars the
processed food industry spends on promoting there toxic
brews of sugar, fats and salt which are slowly killing
people. I can only encourage community action. Let me throw
out a few ideas and ask you to comment on these.
Friends. In my circle of friends (yes I have more than 1)
there are quite few fat tummies. I can at least talk to
these people and show them my wicking system to them and
help them get started.
Social networks. I am not really an expert in social media
but within the community there would appear to be a major
opportunity to use social media to educate the wider
population about diet, health and the dangers of diabetes.
I get many technical questions from people from all over the
world, many from people involved in some form of community
activity so there are many people who are concerned and
willing to contribute to their community.
Schools. Parents can work with their local schools so they
can introduce our next generation to nutrition, minerals,
vitamins, phytonutrients basic soil science and soil biology
and how easy it is to grow vegetables.
Gardening clubs. Many people like to belong to a gardening
club for social reasons and to exchange information. They
can open their doors at special events to educate the wider
public and generally promote the benefits of growing healthy
Local Governments. Many councils have been proactive in
encouraging gardening as an activity and often provide
useful resources such as mulch. They often operate various centres and aged care facilities and a generally in touch
with the local community and are much more approachable than
higher levels of Governments.
State and Federal Governments. These tend to be much less
approachable than local councils but they are the major
providers of health services. There diabetic services are
grossly overloaded (we had to wait for four months just to
see a specialist and then travel 2,000 k to Melbourne, the
system is simply grossly overloaded and not coping).
Governments seem to have minimal concept of prevention and
just bear the costs of major operations. Costs are a major
issue for our politicians so the community needs to let our
budget dominated politians know that a functional health
system is of top ranking importance to the community (way
ahead of submarines to protect us from an invasion of
penguins form Antarctica).
The message the public has to sell to our Governments is
that that prevention is much better and cheaper than cure
and avoids the personal misery which comes from deceases
What do people actually think?
I am totally confident about the technology - there are so
many successful case histories - but I have a hunch I am
missing out on some important part of human psychology.
I would really like to know how other people think about
diet. Do people really understand the hazards of modern
processed food? Do they think that logically I am right but
do not want to give up the benefits of processed food? Am I
simply talking to people that are converted to healthy food
but don’t want to become food evangelists?
How do I reach out to those people who are heading for
trouble by eating harmful food and just do not understand
how easy it is to grow their own healthy food using the
wicking system? Please let me know what you think and give
me your suggestions on how to convince people about the
importance of diet and health.
For full list of all files on this web goto
Sprouts, microgreens and baby green
help cure diabetes and keep you slim.