27 May, 2020

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The Modern Vegetable: Useless Blob Of Biomass

By Arjuna Seneviratne

 Arjuna Seneviratne

Arjuna Seneviratne

No one has ever called a fat person healthy. Fit fat people do not exist. Excesses of blubber and water don’t make the fitness grade you now. Without some other illness or ailment that the person cannot control, the run-of-mill fat people balloon themselves by stuffing their faces with excessive amounts of the resources of the planet for no good reason that they can reasonably justify for themselves. Being six times one’s healthy BMI is no health-wise good folks although whether that looks good or bad is up to individuals since beauty is in the eyes of the viewer.

Now, while a pretty large majority of people would probably agree with me on the health issues of obesity and might pity a fat person on the one side and roundly condemn the person on the other, they will embrace another fat entity with alacrity although that entity is fat for very similar reason.

I am talking about the modern vegetable.karavila

Look at that thing that you love so much: huge, fat, shiny, tasteless and filled with what? Nutrients?Nah.Minerals?Nah. Then what? Well, just biomass mostly. Carbon based materials that do zilch for our health and wellbeing. They have become so bloated because they are created by trick and truck to enhance their size and appearance and fed by a cocktail of killer toxins to keep them alive since their ability to keep themselves alive naturally has been compromised by the very unnaturalness of their design, birth and existence.

We…? LOVE ‘EM! Despite the fact that doctors and others are promoting us to “be just the size that will make us win”, despite the fact that we are very clear over-sized is under-healthy, we seem to have been mass hypnotized into ignoring this simple, straightforward truth. Why? Because we are nuts, let me tell you.

OK … enough giggles and politically incorrect comparisons and anecdotes. Let’s get down to the science of this thing and the meanness with which something that is very bad for us has been coaxed into our subconscious selves as something that is good for us, great for us and looked for by default over everything else.

Avarage minerals content in selected vegitablesGood people, the so-called agro-scientists of this world (read: the yay-sayers of the food and agrochemical mafia) insist that we must must must cultivate crops that have an optimal yield. They repeat this like a mantra, to everyone who cares to listen and force it down the throats of those who don’t through power, pressure and barrel loads of money and political clout. What they are saying to us essentially is simply this: we need more and more and more biomass to feed the world so that it is not hungry. Excuse me? Seriously? By that argument, there should be little to choose between eating a tasteless, nutrient less, water logged and bloated karavila and a ream of A4 sheets for all the good either of them will do you because both of them have very little food value. The former is marginally more palatable than chomping on A4 sheets … marginally. Try it. I’ve done it. I really cannot taste much of a difference between a steamed new-look, new-age, obese karavila and a piece of paper.

mineral-depletion-graphSo, folks, why do these scientists lie to us? That’s stupidly easy. To grow more biomass we need to grow the hybrids and to grow those we have to bumkiss the seed mafia and the agrochemical mafia and toe every line they put in front of our feet in terms of … he he … MONEY. We also have to use up a huge amount of energy to cultivate them that we really cannot afford these days. You and I (dumb ignoramuses by choice) grin, gleam, and run to a supermarket for … what do we call them…? Ah yes… “fresh vegetables” – regardless of the fact that they have very little vegetable in them and are far from fresh.  We also contribute substantially to poisoning our earth, cannibalizing critical energy resources and feeding the medical industry with a generally sick body they can profit out of. What do we call people like us? That’s easily answered as well. Losers folks, losers.decline-in-nutrients

The point I am trying to make, and which I will promote as strongly as the mantra of the agrotoxin based yield optimization gurus is this: It is not yield density(YD) that is important you coots, its nutrient density (ND) where ND is defined as the amount of nutrients in a food relative to calories. What vegetables have high nutrient density? Indeed, what type of produce can reasonably be called vegetables since they have everything that defines them as such and have nothing that doesn’t? The very ones that you thumb your nose at because they don’t shine enough, they are not fat enough, they don’t look clean enough – plus – ugh – some of them have … (horrified whisper) worms in them.

I am talking about naturally grown heirloom or indigenous varieties. Unit for unit, eating 1/10th of a genuine, nondescript of an heirloom variety will give you 10 times the food value of eating the equivalent, toxin-manufactured, genetically engineered, hybridized bloat that you call “food”. You eat that heirloom variety and you also substantially reduce the sum total of resource usage in the world because you don’t need to eat as much to feed yourself.

The science is clear. It has been clear from the 1940s when scientists first began making foreboding observations of the rapid dilution of minerals in the environment. Many studies over the last 70 years have not only strengthened this understanding of the rapid and irreparable damage to the soil but point squarely at agrochemicals and overfarming for yield optimization as the chief culprit. The issue is exacerbated by the food mafia trying to give us bigger, cleaner looking food on the outside but which is dirty, disgusting and useless on the inside while either preventing actual foods from getting to the people or undermining their desire for real foods through their marketing techniques. What we have ended up with is far far less karavila in karavila plus a load of gunk that is not only useless but downright dangerous for us.

More recently, in 2004, Dr. Donald Davis of the University of Texas and his fellow researchers Drs. Melvin Epp and Hugh Riordan of the Bio-Communications Research Institute in Wichita, Kansas have proved a rapid drop off of mineral content in 43 garden crops. These were the literally “mission critical” nutrients protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin and ascorbic acid. They site three factors, a) An inverse relationships between crop yield and mineral concentrations—the widely cited “dilution effect”; 2) Apparent median declines of 5% to 40% or more in some minerals, vitamins and proteins in groups of vegetables and perhaps fruits; and 3) Recent side-by-side plantings of low- and high-yield cultivars of broccoli and grains found consistently negative correlations between yield and concentrations of minerals and protein, a newly recognized genetic dilution effect.

So folks, bigger vegetables – like bigger people, aint better. Bigger vegetables do not feed a body’s needs but rather, feeds the addiction of a body to consume sweet nothings in excess. You will need five hybrid carrots to give you the same food you get from one heirloom carrot. You will need 20 servings of fruit and vegetables a day instead of the usual 5.

So folks, next time, when you want to give yourself food and I mean food, it is best that you do not succumb either to addiction to cosmetic traits in something masquerading as a fruit or vegetable at a supermarket or engage in your favorite pastime of reading labels on packages for nutrient lists and scrutinizing expiration dates. Just get the heck out of the supermarket and go buy some ugly looking, wormy but super charged vambatu from a little ol lady who grows it in her backyard. Those don’t come with expiration dates or nutrient lists. They don’t need to be proven to you as food. They are the real deal. The worm in that ugly brinjal won’t kill you. The poison laced shiny dark fat flub of an aubergine in that well lit box we call a supermarket will.

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Latest comments

  • 3
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    Thanks for the reminder. Terrible thing indeed! This is all to do with macro-economic policies that the West is perpetuating. Time for Buddhist Sri Lanka liaison with the Theravada Buddhist-Common-Market to work diligently to preserve indigenous food via Buddhist heritage.

    • 1
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      I am not quite sure that religion needs to factor in but I hear you. The Buddhist economic model (aarthikaya or artha-kriyava) is sound. So too the Islamic model. Trouble is, how can you do either when people are hell bent on producing things but murdering everything that can help to produce it ramona?

      • 1
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        Arjuna, Theravada Buddhist-Commonwealth-of-Nations has to become a reality! The Islamic model can complement, but only on the monetary side (we wouldn’t want halal in with it, right).

        Now with Trump coming up in the US presidential race, and looking for more innovative methods to run the globe with America still maintaining superpower status, it is a good thing for Buddhist nations to set up a think-tank and present propositions before the GOP.

        • 0
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          Romona, well, having gone quite deep into halal, I see its merits as well. On the Buddhist alternatives, I am working with a group of people including Prof. Clair Brown of Berkley who started the first degree program in the USA on Buddhist Economics to framework a model for our country. It is complex this whole thing.

          Despite high performance (region leading) on many macroeconomic metrics such as growth, GENI, per capita income, secondary school enrollment, infant mortality, teenage pregnancy etc. our country ranks as ONE OF THE UNHAPPIEST NATIONS AMONG THOSE WITH A MAJORITY OF BUDDHISTS.

          The “why” of that has to be sorted out before anything else. Not easy my friend. Not easy at all. The biggest resistance to such models based on the Buddha’s Dharma (as opposed to Buddhism) will probably come from the Sinhala Buddhists unfortunately.

          • 3
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            The Buddhist alternative with Prof. Clair Brown of Berkley sounds very promising. All the best!

            With 1.3 billion capitalist caste-driven Hindus just 27 miles north of us, we would be very miserable indeed. Our Buddhistic psyche has got severely compromised. (Buthan, Tibet, Nepal being protected by mountainous terrain).

            • 0
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              Actually Ramona, the issue is not geographic regionally. The issue is that Sri Lanka is full of Buddhists with very few followers of the Buddha’s dharma. Those who follow the Dhamma are not too worried about earth ownership, knowing full well a) that that earth was here millions of years before they were born on it and will continue to remain here millions of years after they have ceased to be even a part of its dust and b) karmic chakras dictate that our faiths, spiritualities and nationalities will keep changing from lifetime to lifetime and the only way to keep being born into a geography and a society that adheres to the Buddha’s dharma is to ensure that one does not denigrate or insult it in its very name. Buddhists continue to do so in spite of the dhamma. Therefore it is not likely they will ever be in a position to be born in these types of climes. As long as Sri Lankans insist on a national identity based on religion (as opposed to the dharma) that will be the future and the basis for current and future unhappiness since those are emotions that follow closely on the heels of perpetrating lies.

              We cannot point fingers at the region and her husband for the place we have gotten ourselves into. I think it is in the Sangiti Sutra that the great Sariputta say “Let the world think and do as it wishes to think and do. Let us resolve to do as the dhamma dictates we do and not respond to the world in the way the world responds to us”.

              On hapiness/GDP, Sri Lanka comes in next last. The order in terms of happiness is as follows: Thailand, Vietnam, Bhutan, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and lastly Cambodia.

    • 1
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      Good one Arjuna!

      Educating the public about how the global food, Agribusiness and drugs and Pharmaceutical industries works through advertising and MISINFORMATION is the way forward for a health and educated Lanka!

      Today there is a big struggle both in the global Agribusiness and Pharmaceutical industry, among competing multinational corporations like Fontera and Hoffman La Roache, parent company of A. Baur Co. to capture markets and create monopolies, buy buying knowledge producers and brokers and PROFESSIONALS like doctors and researchers in universities, in less developed countries in the global south.

      Creating market monopolies, destroying crop diversity and genetic diverstiy and destroying competition is the first step in corporate profiteering.
      They then establish monopolies and capture markets and then drive up the prices of essential foods, drugs and fertilizers in countries in the global south, where the people are mostly unsophisticated and the professionals poor enough to be corrupted is how these multi-national companies operate.

      Today there is a huge scandal in the US about phamaceutical companies driving up the prices of essential drugs and opioid addiction.

      In Sri Lanka the Courts taking the right judgement ruled against Hoffman-La Roache/ A. Baur and Company that is trying to create a monopoly in the essential drugs market – particularly cancer and drugs for complex diseases like Multiple Sclerosis.

      The dirty tricks and corruption of these companies is increasingly sophisticated and now they buy not only third world politicians but also professionals and professional associations.

      Companies like Fontera and A. Baur and their Company products should be boycotted.

      Citizens for good governance should start a public education campaign, particularly for policy makers and Associations in the Medical and Agriculture field.

      The Sri Lanka Doctors Union and its associated medical organizations like the Neurologists Association are protesting against private universities and medical colleges, even though the country needs more doctors, while many of their members are in the pay of multinational Pharmaceutical companies like A Baur and Company which is Swiss based that want a MONOPOLY on ESSENTIAL DRUGS, even as countries like Russia are now producing high quality advanced drugs far cheaper.

      • 0
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        I think you’ve explained the mechanics of multinationals quite well Dinuk. We fight the good fight always to try to make sure our country is left in better shape than we inherited it. Sometimes we have crazy ideas, sometimes we miss… still… the best thing we can say about our sleepless nights spent doing battle is that at least our motives are pure and whatever happens shall happen either because of us or despite of us and we should not get our knickers too much in a twist on those issues :)

  • 1
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    This is an age-old problem. I keep telling the Mrs that size does not matter but she will always go for the supersize.

    Anyway, I think you are really writing about the North American phenomena for outsize-everything. In good old Sri Lanka, we are blessed with an ammay by the roadside who delivers some anorexic but tasty vegetables (worms and all).

    Our Sri Lankan problem is the small holder who delivers similar vegetables and fruit but laced with a cocktail of pesticides that have been generously applied by the ‘thava podduk thaanda Siripala,’ school of husbandry.

    In the end, one way or another, death will get us all. Just enjoy the here and now, without letting these things drive you mad.

    • 1
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      Spring Koha

      ” I keep telling the Mrs that size does not matter but she will always go for the supersize. “

      Where does your Mrs find them? Are they well hung in the vegetable stalls/markets?

      • 1
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        Yo Native Vedda

        The Mrs will always look up eyeing the impressive looking anamaalu’s that hang high and provocatively. I tell her, the little suvendels are small and perfectly formed, and will satisfy us just as well; would she believe me? Like hell!

    • 1
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      You are right. I think the education should be for the lady of the house. In Sri Lanka, the supermarket varieties (about 45 fruit and vegetables) far outweigh the other 550 or so foods we have in the country. Mostly (about 83%) of farmers are small holders and your claim that they stick their earth full of toxins is correct. Hard to get them to get out of this addiction to chemicals. My worry is that even the ammay is a dying breed. She doesn’t need great advertising slogans … she has just one – kala balanna. The proof of the pie is in the eating as it were. My take is simple: if something needs to be advertised, the chances are that its a load of bull. :)

      • 1
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        Dear Arjuna,
        As Spring Koha says :” In the end, one way or another, death will get us all. Just enjoy the here and now, without letting these things drive you mad. “
        On the subject of worms et al, I have found that worms in fruits taste just like the fruits themselves, so if you don’t look at what you are eating, no harm is done.
        I have also noted that housewives spend a lot of time removing presumed shit from large prawns, but don’t do the same with tiny “koonissas”. Don’t they realize that the amount of shit per kilo is the same?

        • 0
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          lol old codger … you make a pretty salient point although you couch it in an anecdote. The problem is that fear on the one side and the desire to listen to and act in accordance with rumor and gossip overrides awareness or knowledge or common-sense on the part of quite an alarming percentage of “ladies of the house”. The trick is not to try to educate them but rather to feed the rumor mill and gossip network with a few well thought out “rumors” about what is good and what is bad. *winks*

  • 2
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    start social farming, have a piece of land, ask people to come and plant organic, no fertilizer, 1/3 produce to the person responcible for the produce,1/3 for land owner,1/3 to charity. i am starting.

    • 0
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      Excellent idea Jehan and all the very best. This is indeed heartening to hear. Salute!

  • 0
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    The biggest issue regarding small scale farming is the theft. Unless you have a well secured parameter or you are the village policeman, it is almost impossible to retain anything until they are ripen.

    Another issue is monkeys.

    I know a few people who given up gardening and cultivating small vegetable patches (koratu) due to these reasons.

    I myself love gardening. But have to keep it limited to some flower plants in order to avoid attracting unnecessary ‘visitors’.

    • 0
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      Chandana, on the human-primate problem, I agree with you. We still haven’t been able to lick that satisfactorily. On the matter of theft, I am not too sure. Small scale farming by nature is one which requires constant engagement and oversight. I know thousands of natural farmers in various parts of the country who engage in small koratu-farming and they have not reported this problem if they are living on the land and overseeing it constantly. Of course, one simply cannot do this type of farming by remote control or by visiting once a week… I doubt that is what you do so this is a problem I am hearing of for the first time.

      • 0
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        We used to live near Aththidiya and had this plot of land (of 15 perches) just across a narrow road from where we lived. Sometime ago, my wife and I started cultivating this after clearing the shrubs and bushes. We planted various plants including bananas , Mugunuwenna, ladies fingers, chilies etc. nothing very attractive. My wife worked hard to water and weed them regularly. Unfortunately, were not able to see any of our crops properly matured or ripened. Thieves had the best of it while we had to pick the fruits/vegetables while they were young if we want have them.
        It was the same story about the vegetables we grew in the same plot as our house. And with other residents in the area who wanted to have something grown for food.

        I am not sure whether this was a situation specific to that area. What I can say is that theft was the main reason I gave up having a home garden. And so was the case with many of residents there.

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