As I have gone through the years I have noticed that the longer I live the more sick the people there are around me. The worrying aspect of this is that it is younger people who are getting ill, and with strange diseases.
I am not going to mention specific diseases because my theory does not try to apply cause to them but, in general, it is fairly clear to me that people are becoming more ill because of excessive hygiene.
The hardiest people among us and the nations most associated with longevity do not subscribe to the hygienists view that you must keep everything clean. They develop a resistance to diseases by being constantly exposed to the risk of contracting them.
In my childhood, soap was a solid lump of green or brown stuff (often carbolic) that hardly formed a foam, lasted for ever. It was mainly found in school wash rooms. We had soap at home but it was used for the laundry. My Dad would carefully shave the soap and the shavings would be added to the water the clothes were going to be boiled and washed in.
Hand washing before meals was unheard of, even at school. Baths were a weekly (Saturday night) experience and the last person to use the water in the huge, zinc tub would most likely not benefit at all. The old saying “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water” is based on the fact that the water was so dirty after everyone had bathed that the baby could be in there but not seen. Morning ablutions often were no more than a “lick and a promise” with teachers at school often commenting on the wide variety of “tide marks” that we pupils displayed.
Rationing was still on many food products so we accepted whatever we could get. No food, unless the maggots could carry it out of the house, ever got thrown away. Fruit and vegetables were separated so that the “taint” on one would not spread to the others. Root vegetables were washed and peeled but the children would clamour to eat some of the raw peelings before they were consigned to the swill bin. Our refrigerators were concrete slabs in the pantry and sell by dates had not been invented. The idea of canned food was still a novelty for most people. I know my father was very distrustful of it when he was told how hot it was made during the canning process. Even he knew that such heat would destroy nutritional value.
Sweets were a rare treat and if one was dropped on the floor, it was immediately picked up and eaten. Often sweets in pockets were covered in the fluff and detritus that inhabits a child’s pockets but that did not stop us enjoying them.
I do not remember anybody ever suffering from food poisoning in those days. I believe it is common today because the natural fauna of our gut has been debilitated by a lack of “food”. Even a bacterium must feed and if it is designed to feed on “bad” food in the gut, bad food must be ingested to keep it healthy. The destruction of our gut bacteria has left us wide open to illnesses that would have been shaken off or totally prevented in my early years.
Compared with today’s children, we were always at risk of some virulent disease and yet we stayed remarkably fit and healthy. We shook off mumps, measles and chicken pox in a few days and were often allowed out to play with the other children so they could catch the disease as well and build some immunity (known as “resistance” to my parents).
Today’s children would not have survived the conditions we lived in. The main reason is that they are being made to deliberately attack their bodies with unnecessary chemicals – in the name of hygiene. The natural barriers of dead skin cells and the oils and waxes secreted by the skin are washed off before they can become effective against bacterial attack so both internal and external defence mechanisms are severely compromised.
Food is so sterile nowadays that even a small contamination is seen as reason for millions of pounds worth to be destroyed. The guts of children have little to do in the way of self defence so, instead of an accumulated resistance to infection, they have a deliberately weakened immune system that cannot cope with even a light level of food contamination or degradation.
I am convinced that we are too clean to be healthy.