My Dirty Little Secret Opinions
© Copyright 2009
Flashback to when dirt was good
Ok, how far back should we go? I don’t want to go back before the white man came to North America, but we have to start somewhere. It would most definitely have to be before the ‘dirty thirties.’ Let’s start at say, 200 years ago or around 1800. This was the beginning of what we refer to as, the American Old West,” the “Old West” or “the Great West” from 1800 -1900.
Imagine living in the ‘Wild West.’ Most everyone lived outside of small towns. The towns had a general store, the sheriff’s office, a saloon, maybe a hotel, a black smith, maybe a newspaper, a one room school house, a church, barber shop, some other shops and the town doctor, but we will visit him later.
Rain water was collected in barrels. Buildings were not too well constructed or insulated. Pretty much the hub of the town was the general store. They carried pretty much everything you might need or want or did not produce on your own land. There was no refrigeration, so anything you wanted to keep for any period of time, required salt from the general store. You might want some coffee and tea, but you surely wanted sugar. It was a necessity, just like salt.
There was during these times, a fair amount of people and goodly amount of good dirt. My only point is this, the dirt was un-messed with and un-fooled around with, for the most part. Farmers relied on heirloom seeds for replanting their seed crops. They used fertilizer, but mostly from natural sources like manure from oxen, cattle, mules and horses that pulled their ploughs. They did a lot more crop rotation then. Fields were ploughed under and the decaying matter fed the soil, which fed the seeds they planted. Both people and animals ate the plants and suffice it to say, the food was highly nutritious. Why then, did people not live as long then, as we do today?
My Dirty Little Secret Opinion List
1. Personal Hygiene – It was difficult to heat water and we have all heard the stories about the weekly bath. Most of us are familiar with the line, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” If you lived in a family, it was usually customary for the man of the house to bathe first. If he worked in the fields, he was probably the dirtiest too. In the same bath water, Mother would be next and maybe she would add another pot of hot water. Following mom would be the children from the oldest to the youngest and boys were usually before the girls. The last one to take a bath would be baby or the babies. It might be quite easy to toss the bath water out with the baby because at this point, the water was so dirty, you might not even see the baby.
They also wore the same clothes for more than a day. Now don’t roll your eyes in disgust and just think these were poor, uncivilized ‘dirt farmers.’ People in the big cities, the wealthy and even royalty did not bathe often either. Perfume and cologne were first primarily used not beacuse they would make one smell ‘nice,’ but mask the odor of perhaps, smelling ‘bad.’ Odor is nothing more in this sense than bacteria. It is the body’s way of ridding itself of toxins, bacteria and posions. Our skin breathes and just like how this series began with a vacuum cleaner and the matress, we can become re-infected with our own germs. Bathe frequently!!
2. Poor dental hygiene – bacteria is the key here again.
3. Drinking water – Water was consumed from wells, streams, runoff from rainwater stored in oak barrels and other less than optimum, sources of water containers and containment.
4. Lack of refrigeration – food as in meats had to be dried and highly salted or they would spoil quickly. Butter, milk and eggs would spoil quickly too, but were often consumed, past their time.
5. Poorly constructed and insulated dwellings – subject to drafts, pests and bacteria.
6. Improper sanitation techniques for household cleaning, storage and general food preparation.
7. Poorly ventilated fireplaces and stoves – the interior air breathed contained smoke, creosote and other contaminates from wood burning stoves and fireplaces.
8. Lack of variety in diet – consumed a lot of (salted)* meat and potatoes, lack of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables consumed
* Salt – High salt content in 20th century was recognized as a contributor of high blood pressure and heart related problems. Note: salt NaCl (sodium chloride), not other forms of sodium was the chief contributor to this.
9. Food temperature control – food undercooked or most food was overcooked*
* Now think about this. About the only thing most of us consume with most of its nutritional value intact is, tea and coffee. We drink the juice of the coffee bean or the tea leaves and throw away the grounds and the tea leaves or bags. With almost all our other food, we throw away the liquids containing most of the nutritional value and eat the rest. If you think of vitamins as giving something its color, then the deep color liquids we throw away contain most of the vitamins and what we eat is pretty sickly looking.
If you think of minerals as giving something its taste, then the flavors we throw away contain most of the minerals so we add salt, pepper and sugar* to the otherwise bland food we eat. Maybe this is why I and other children did not or do not like cooked carrots?
* Sugar – Dr. Imhotep Llaila Afrika, author of African Holistic Health wrote, “White sugar is sweet; it is delicious, and it is good, however, it is a drug!”
It must be noted that I am not referring to natural sugar found in cane or beets, but ‘refined sugar’ – that is what that white crystal stuff is really called. According to William Dufty, author of Sugar Blues, “Sugar is nothing but a chemical. They take the juice of the cane or beet and refine it to molasses and then they refine it to brown sugar and finally to strange white crystals.”
White sugar is considered an empty carbohydrate, meaning it has no nutritional value whatsoever! We eat not because we are hungry, but because we need fuel for the body to operate. Without food and water, the body will eventually cease to function and lead to eventual shutdown and deterioration of the body. The ending result is death, but as in any process, there are stages. When our stomach growls after we have eaten, it is not because we are not full, but because our body lacks the nutrition it needs. Many believe a mal-nourished person is one in which we can see their bones sticking out. Though this may be true, it is not the only example of mal-nourishment or sickness. We have been taught to stereotype what a starving person looks like. Surely not a slim, mid-size or even an obese person would be mal-nourished or sick? The FDA (Food & Drug Administration), the WHO (World Health Organization), pharmaceutical companies, the AMA (American Medical Association), the Department Health, Education and Welfare, the government, and many other organizations devise their power, influence, and wealth from our ignorance to health.
10. Cookware – Mostly metal ceramic coated plates (probably lead based), and cast iron cookware (grandma’s cookware)*
* ‘Grandma’s Cook wear’ – Have you ever inherited some cast iron skillet from grandma? It is called grandma’s cook wear because there is a good chance that whatever you cook in it will have some of everything grandma ever cooked in it. Cast iron cook wear was seldom washed or it was lightly cleaned as it could rust. A new skillet for example was first ‘seasoned.’ This was done by pouring oil into the skillet and coating the entire inside, then heated over the stove. You cook, wipe it out then cook with it over and over. Eventually the oil mixes with all the other stuff you cook with it and the oil can become rancid. During cooking, microscopic iron is mixed with the food. This is NOT the kind of iron we need. Later on, other cook wear was developed like aluminum, Teflon coated aluminum, ‘Corning wear’ glass and even stainless steel. Teflon was first used to coat nuclear reactors by the way. Stainless steel really had no standards. It could have been made with a rusty old car from the junk yard. Surgical stainless steel however is different. It is more expensive and harder to work with.
Here is a fun thing you can do. Pull out all your cook wear or borrow one of each type of pan listed above. Get some baking soda. You know, the stuff people put a box of in their refrigerator and freezers, and use for all kinds of things, but rarely bake with? Well baking soda not only absorbs odors and keeps our refrigerated stuff smelling fresh, it absorbs some of pretty much everything it mixes with. Place about a tablespoon of baking soda into each pan and add just enough water to make a thick paste. Heat each pan until you can smell it cooking. Turn off the heat and taste just a little of the paste from each pan. Don’t swallow it and have water standing by to rinse your mouth out then taste from each pan, rinsing each time you do.
After you have tasted this from each pan, throw all your cook wear away!!!! Go find someone that sells SURGICAL STAINLESS STEEL COOK WEAR. The difference between stainless steel and surgical stainless steel is rust and chromium. Stainless steel can rust and surgical stainless will not. If you must be operated on, which scalpel would your want your surgeon to use, stainless or surgical stainless steel? Which one might cause an infection? Oh, an the instruments used by the doctors during this time were probably NOT surgical stainless steel and they did not have much more than alcohol (like a fifth of whiskey), to try and sterlize them before and after they were used. Sure, surgical stainless steel cook wear aint cheap, but how much is the quality of your life worth? Try the taste of baking soda with a surgical stainless steel pan and the ONLY THING you will taste is baking soda or pasty salt.
11. Limited medical knowledge – lack of sterilization, lack of knowledge in the prevention of infection, viruses and the spread of disease
WOW, even though the dirt was richer in vital nutrients 100-200 years ago, as were the plants which grew out of it, and the animals that ate the plants, and the humans which consumed the plants and animals. Even so, we are less healthy today in many ways then, but we live longer!
WOW, this stuff is really getting dirty! We are not done. There is much more to come and more ‘Dirty Little Secrets‘ to share next time.