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#241  How the System is Slaying Us and What to Do About It: Getting Healthy in Toxic Times with Dr Jenny Goodman

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How does our increasing destruction of the earth’s biosphere also impact our health? What diseases are we seeing in almost pandemic proportions and how much younger are the people in whom we’re seeing them? Above all, what can we do to step away from the system that’s extracting everything from us – our health, our futures and our potential to be good ancestors?

Our guest this week is Jenny Goodman who is a doctor – and also an author. Her first book, Staying Alive in Toxic Times:  A seasonal guide to lifelong health is a fascinating look at how we can stay well, but it’s her second that we’re going to explore today, partly because at the time of recording, it’s just about to be launched. Getting Healthy in Toxic Times: an ecological doctor’s prescription for healing your body and the planet is a mind-bending read.

I really did think I knew this stuff, but there are large parts of this book that have blown all my fuses, not just for the health impacts – particularly on children and young people (did you know we’re seeing Alzheimer’s now in teenagers?) but for the cold-blooded way it’s been allowed to happen. Every part of this book is essential reading – not just because it shows us how we’re being poisoned by our food, our water, the air that we breath, the things around us that we can’t even see – but more importantly because it details how we can get healthy again and help restore the integrity of our soils, our water, our air…the whole world we live in.

As you’ll hear, Dr Jenny Goodman is a medical doctor, lecturer and broadcaster. She qualified in Ecological Medicine with British Society for Ecological Medicine and practiced this for over two decades, giving rise to many of the case studies in her books. Jenny has appeared with Terry Pratchett in ITV’s documentary What’s in Your Mouth? and has been featured on the Victoria Derbyshire show, BBC One’s Inside Out and numerous other TV and radio shows.

Episode #241

00:00 Introduction to Microplastics in Clothing
01:10 Welcome to the Accidental Gods Podcast
01:44 The Journey of Dr. Jenny Goodman
03:12 From Conventional Medicine to Ecological Medicine
10:07 The Impact of Industrialised Agriculture
13:17 The Dangers of Glyphosate and Pesticides
23:10 The Epidemic of Chronic Diseases
26:55 The Importance of Organic and Regenerative Farming
35:57 Filtering Water and Avoiding Toxins
36:42 The Hidden Dangers in Our Water
46:01 The Problem with Synthetic Clothing
52:23 The Impact of Fossil Fuels on Air Quality
54:21 Heavy Metals and Air Pollution
55:19 Political and Personal Actions Against Air Pollution
57:01 The Clash of Freedoms: Clean Air vs. Car Ownership
57:25 The Need for Efficient Public Transport
59:27 AI and the Future of Public Transport
01:02:49 Electric Vehicles and Ethical Concerns
01:06:43 Nuclear Power: Risks and Realities
01:07:39 Protecting Yourself from Nuclear Radiation
01:19:33 Electromagnetic Radiation: Hidden Dangers
01:31:08 Making Your Home a Safe Haven
01:40:29 Final Thoughts and Resources

In Conversation

Manda: Hey people, welcome to Accidental Gods. To the podcast where we believe that another world is still possible and that together we can create the foundations of that future that we would be proud to leave to the generations that come after us. We spend a lot of time on this podcast exploring the human impact on the planet. It’s axiomatic for us that we are in a meta crisis, that it is anthropogenically created, and that there is still time to change it. What we’ve looked at less is the impact that we’re having on our own health. When I had the chance to look at Doctor Jenny Goodman’s book Getting Healthy in Toxic Times; An Ecological Doctor’s Prescription for Healing Your Body and the Planet, I realised that it was something that I really wanted to bring to our listeners. We need to know this stuff. I really thought that I knew this stuff and my goodness, now I am more up to speed. So this is what we’re going to do this week. Our guest is Doctor Jenny Goodman, who is a doctor and also an author. Her first book was Staying Alive in Toxic Times; A Seasonal Guide to Lifelong Health, which is pretty good and totally worth reading.

Manda: But we’re looking at her second book today, partly because it’s just about to be published. If you listen to this, on the day that we transmit it, then you still have time to pre-order. And one of the many things I’ve learned since we published Any Human Power is the power of pre-ordering. It makes a huge impact. So wherever you go, your local bookshop would be best, another big bookshop would be second best, and the second best thing you can do if you like it, is to give it five stars in a review on Amazon, because this makes an enormous difference to the algorithms and how it reaches other people. And this book needs to reach absolutely everybody, not just because it shows us how we’re being poisoned by our food, our water, the air that we breathe, the things around us that we can’t even see. But more importantly, because it details how we can become healthy again and help to restore the integrity of our soils, our water, our air, the whole of the world that we live in. This is quite long. If we hadn’t just had an election in the UK, there was a point when I was going to suggest to Jenny that we did 4 or 5 separate podcasts. One for each of the earth, the air, the water, the fire, and then the impact of the things in our homes; in each room of our homes.

Manda: But we had an election, and I think we’ve put out quite a lot of podcasts recently, and we probably don’t need an extra five. So we put it all into one. Truly people, this scarcely scrapes the surface of what Jenny knows. She is incredibly knowledgeable. She’s talked to a lot of people. And the things that she knows about that I didn’t know about, and I’m guessing you don’t know about, are mind bending. So this is a bit of a trigger warning; listen to this one when you’re feeling resilient. But you will want to listen. We all need to know about this. So there we go. Without further ado, people of the podcast, please welcome Doctor Jenny Goodman, author of Getting Healthy in Toxic Times; An Ecological Doctor’s Prescription for Healing Your Body and the Planet.

Manda: Doctor Jenny Goodman, welcome to the Accidental Gods podcast. How are you and where are you this rather lovely summer solstice day?

Jenny: Thank you. I’m in north London and opposite a park, and yes, it’s very nearly solstice and it’s finally getting warm.

Manda: It is. Summer seems to have started. Yes, it’s come in time for the election, whoop de do, which is always better than winter elections. I wore out lots of sets of wellies at the last election because the sod called it in midwinter. You could tell he had never done a day’s canvassing in his life, or he would not have called it in December. Anyway, leaving that aside, you have written a book that I think every single person in the world who can read English needs to read, and then it needs to be translated into every single language. I thought I knew this stuff until I read your book, and now I realise I don’t. And I want to read a little bit from the very beginning, because it synthesises what the book is about, and it links very well to what this podcast does. And you say:.

Manda: ‘We have a health crisis and we have an environmental crisis. And the roots of the two problems are the same and the solutions are the same. The causes of our frightening epidemic illnesses are not unknown. As I shall show in this book, we are eating the causes, we are drinking the causes, we are inhaling the causes, and some of us are rubbing the causes into our skin. Industrialised agriculture and the petrochemical industry are damaging our nutrition and poisoning our atmosphere, our rivers, our oceans and our soil and therefore our bodies. We are not and can never be separate from our mother, the earth. When we pollute the planet, we pollute ourselves. But it is possible to stop doing both; to heal ourselves and the earth. And this book explains how.’

Manda: And my goodness does this book explain how. I’ve come away from it a changed individual, I tell you. So, first of all, thank you for writing this. I would like to spend a couple of minutes getting to how you shifted from being your average medic; there is no such thing as the average medic, but there are the ones that stick within the guidelines of conventional medicine and there are the ones who break out and look at the world as it is and have the courage to say how it is. And there are not that many of you. How did Jenny Goodman come to be one of the ones who got to write a book about this?

Jenny: Thank you Manda, that’s a really interesting question. I think I have to give my parents some credit for this. They were ardent socialists, they were utopian socialists. I grew up with William Morris as well as Karl Marx and believing that a better world was possible, and that my task in this world was to fight for that by whatever means. I’d always wanted to be a doctor from the age of about 8 or 9, partly because I was a child of older parents, and I saw a lot of people around me getting ill and dying, at an age where I shouldn’t have seen that. Of course, it’s much worse now. Also, I had asthma as a child, and I described this in the book and so I had all these incentives. I was going to grow up and cure cancer and make everybody better, and I thought being a doctor is the way to do that, medicine is the answer. Although I did gradually observe medicine not helping adults very close to me who were ill. My first day at medical school was probably the day I became radicalised in relation to medicine.

Manda: Oh my goodness, that was early then.

Jenny: Yes, it was immediate. Because firstly I’d had a gap year, which nobody had in those days, so I wasn’t straight from A-levels. And what I saw on my first day in the dissecting room was an injunction to not feel your feelings.,The dissecting room is scary. It’s ugly. It stinks of formalin, but you mustn’t show that this is affecting you. You are cutting apart the body of a dead person; you mustn’t show that this is affecting you. And within the first fortnight, most of the kind, sensitive, open hearted people had left and they went off to do everything from humanities to anthropology to pottery. I stuck it out because I was teeth grittingly determined to be a doctor because the paradox was this was how I was going to heal the sick, even though what I was seeing all around me was the suppression of feeling and the machismo that was virtually military. You have to not show your feelings, you have to tough it out, boy or girl. You have to be a rugby playing, beer swilling, coffee drinking in the mornings to get over it, tough type. And in fact, I was warned before my interviews for medical school: when they ask you, why do you want to be a doctor, don’t say I want to heal the sick. That’s considered sissy, uncool. So I just said I was fascinated by human biology, which was true. But actually what I wanted to do was learn how to heal the sick, learn why people got sick, and learn how to prevent sickness.

Jenny: And there was very little about the first and nothing at all about the second two. So I don’t know how I stuck it. I did take a year out halfway through, but I stuck the whole six years and came out the other end thinking the only ethical action, the only thing that I can really get behind in this is A&E, casualty. So I did. I worked in emergency medicine for a while. Not that long. As well as general medicine and general surgery and even a tiny bit of neurosurgery. But I felt that everywhere, everywhere was actually the emergency department. Because all the people being brought into hospital with heart attacks and strokes and cancer and crippling rheumatoid arthritis or in a diabetic coma, the question was, how did it get this bad in the first place? This is already an emergency. Could this not have been detected, prevented, educated against. And it can, of course, but I didn’t know. I didn’t have then a clearly formulated critique, but I knew that this was not the healing ethos that I had been looking for. So I left. I spent about ten years lecturing in medical sciences like anatomy and physiology, to students of alternative medicine. People who were training to do herbalism, homeopathy, osteopathy, acupuncture and so on. And also teaching in adult education, teaching mostly ordinary working class women how to interpret what their GP had said to them, how to keep themselves healthy, and talking about politics of health, the role of alternative medicine, and so on.

Jenny: Then I did a masters in psychotherapy and I thought I was done with medicine. I really thought that was the end of medicine for me, because I could not find an area that I felt comfortable practising in. I was fascinated by and drawn to obstetrics and gynaecology and psychiatry. But what I saw happening in those disciplines was beyond cruel, beyond wrong. And I’m not Wendy Savage, I’m not Ronnie Lang, I can’t sort this out on my own. Then I had kids so entered into extreme brain fog for a number of years. And when I surfaced, I knew I didn’t want to go back to doing psychotherapy, although I had been working at the Hammersmith Hospital as a counsellor, because it was much too much like parenting. You know, put your own feelings aside, put the other person first, put yourself in their place. And then I was very, very fortunate in the late 90s to discover the British Society for Ecological Medicine, which is bsem.org.uk. You have to put in the w-w-w before, Google doesn’t seem to want you to find it. But it’s a brilliant group of disillusioned GPS and many other doctors, and now also nutritionists and naturopaths. Doctors who got tired of doling out the antibiotics and the antidepressants and the antihypertensives and the anti-epileptics, all the anti-drugs fighting against what the body is trying to say. And wanted to find ways to support the immune system, to look at the causes in terms of our nutrition and our environment.

Jenny: Now, most people are familiar with nutrition, which is putting the good stuff back in. And of course, the good stuff is missing because of intensive farming and the junk food industry, stress and all sorts of other things. But most people are less familiar with the other half of what I learned in my two years with postgrad training with the British Society of Ecological Medicine. And that is environmental medicine. And that is what this book is about. It’s about looking at the pollutants that the industrial revolution has created, what they are, where they are, how they get into our bodies, what damage they do to our bodies, and how we can both detox them (that’s in chapter seven of my first book) and how we can avoid them, so we don’t retox ourselves all the time. And most importantly, how we can collectively fight to cut them off at source. Because this is an inescapably political issue; we are being poisoned for profit.

Manda: Right. And this will go out in the UK the day before the general election. And as far as I can tell, there’s only one party that actually gets this and that’s the Green Party. The Lib Dems, I think, might be persuaded to be slightly less neoliberal, although I have my doubts. But the Green Party definitely does. This is nakedly political. There are four possible seats in the UK where the Green Party might make it. Between the point of us recording and the time this goes out, I will have been out there canvassing. If anybody is unsure of who to vote for, and one of those Greens is in a seat in which you have influence.

Jenny: So I’m guessing they are Brighton, Stroud…

Manda: Actually, no it’s Brighton, Bristol, Waveney North and Hereford North Hereford North, she’s within 1% at the moment, we’re two weeks out and Waveney North also seems to be a potential. And all those greens are either first or second place, depending on who’s doing the polls. Because as we know, polls are designed to shape opinion, not reflect it. So the polling, I think, is something that we need to look at quite hard as and when the revolution comes. But the revolution is not here yet. And I don’t really believe in revolutions, they take you back to where you started. I believe in evolution; so we need to evolve beyond that. But that’s a whole other conversation. In the meantime, thank you. It’s so lovely to be talking to someone so articulate who understands exactly where we’re at and is unafraid to say so. We could talk about the politics of this for the whole hour. We could talk about each of the elements that you go through for the whole hour, each. And there was a point where I had that in mind. If the election hadn’t happened we’d have had Doctor Jenny talking about each of the elements for a podcast each. And if there’s enough interest out there, people, this is a question, let me know. We might come back and go into them in more depth if Jenny’s up for it.

Manda: But in the meantime, we’re going to go through in the order that you do them in the book, starting with the Earth. And I love that you said biodiversity doesn’t really light my fire; I’d rather call it abundant life and infinite variety. I have underlined that in two separate colours, because I’m a bit slow on the uptake and I need it twice. So we are what we eat. We’re told that, and I’m not sure enough people really take it seriously. You talked about junk food earlier. I am trying to get people to stop calling it ultra processed food and start calling it ‘mechanically produced semi edible substances’, because I think that would get into people’s minds that this is not actually food anymore. However, you have written in real detail the dangers of what it is that we’re doing. And again, we could spend an entire podcast just talking about glyphosate. But for the people who don’t really believe me when I tell them that it’s really dangerous, would you like to just give us a little insight into your view of the current industrial farming processes, and how they’re damaging us, in whatever order and orientation appeals to you most?

Jenny: All right. Well first I think we should say how it began. It began after the Second World War after an experience of deprivation, rationing and extreme food insecurity, that there wouldn’t be enough to eat. And the pesticides and fertilisers were around from the mid 20s, but their use on a mass scale began in 1945. And again, this is inescapably political and economic, because the synthetic fertilisers had been developed as explosives for use in war. They still periodically explode, as in Beirut in August 2020. And the pesticides and herbicides, insecticides, fungicides; ‘cide’ means to kill. Those things had been developed as nerve gases, particularly in the Second World War, and that’s why we still see the damage they do is primarily neurological, although they also cause cancer, endocrine disruption and goodness knows what else. So first of all, these substances already existed, created for the military and people wanted to find a use for them.

Manda: They wanted to sell them to a new outlet.

Jenny: They didn’t want to lose a major source of profit. So we have explosives turned into synthetic fertilisers on soil that is indeed already depleted by over farming. Now, synthetic fertilisers look like a good quick fix because you put them on the soil and the crops go whoosh. They grow fast and tall, but thin and spindly, without proper cell walls and without proper nourishment, because the only elements that are in synthetic fertilisers are potassium, phosphate and nitrogen, none of which were ever short of. I mean, I’ve been testing people for nutritional deficiency in my practice for 25 years, and nobody is ever short of those elements. I suppose someone who never ate any fruit and veg and ate a lot of salt might be short of potassium.

Manda: But they were the things that we could measure in soil and our soil science was so embryonic and frankly pathetic at that stage, that all we could do was go, oh, look, these three seem a bit low. We didn’t know about soil biology, it wasn’t a thing. So we were sorting a thing that we could measure that actually wasn’t that important.

Jenny: That’s right. And anyway, you can get the nitrogen by having the nitrogen fixing bacteria, which thrive on pulses and plants like clover and all those sorts of things. They fix the nitrogen into the soil. But what they didn’t add and what their rapid, intensive farming depleted was magnesium, zinc, selenium, iodine: precisely the minerals that I find very deficient in most of the sick people whom I see. They’re missing from the soil, therefore they’re missing from your plate. Therefore they’re missing from your body, with numerous consequences. Magnesium deficiency is going to stop your brain working properly, it’s going to make your muscles stiff and tense, it’s going to make you feel agitated. Selenium deficiency makes you more vulnerable to both infections and cancer. Zinc deficiency damages the sense of smell, sense of taste; in children it impairs growth; it’s needed for hundreds of different enzymes. Iodine deficiency causes sometimes subclinical, undiagnosed thyroid deficiency, and it’s also implicated in cancer of the breast and the prostate and the ovary. We need iodine. And mostly we get it from food that’s grown in or near the sea, but it should be in the soil if it’s not been horrendously depleted. So the synthetic fertilisers do that damage, but they also do damage downstream, because when they’re washed into the rivers they cause algal bloom. A growth of toxic microorganisms that basically poisons the land and the soil and the water wherever it is.

Jenny: So you asked about glyphosate. Glyphosate is a herbicide, and like all the others, it’s originally a nerve gas and it’s implicated in neurological disease, like dementia, like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, but also in cancers like lymphoma and leukaemia and many others. It disrupts the endocrine system, particularly. Everything from premenstrual syndrome to little boys growing man boobs, which I have seen. Plastics do this as well, by the way, because plastic chemicals, plasticisers, BPA, phthalates, all the things that substances use to make plastic soft and flexible, to make it plastic, in fact, they’re all oestrogen mimics. So they sit on the receptors for oestrogen and act like oestrogen. And again we have these epidemics of breast cancer, prostate cancer, cancer of the womb lining the endometrium, the ovary and so on. So Monsanto-Bayer who make glyphosate have made this extraordinary statement, in the face of all these cases of illness. And they’ve had to pay out. I mean, they’ve had to pay out in court millions in damages to people who have become ill and died as a result of their product, glyphosate. But they say it’s not toxic to humans, because it interferes with a biochemical pathway that’s not found in humans. Now, technically, that’s true. It’s very clever. It’s not found in human cells, but it is found in the cells of all the bacteria in our gut: the microbiome. I call them in my first book, our trillions of tiny companions, TTCs, that can add up to several pounds in weight, and really now needs to be considered as an organ of the body, as vital as the liver, the kidneys and the pancreas. So you destroy that, you destroy the immune system and the brain function and everything with which the gut microbiome communicates. Those good bugs are making B vitamins for us, they’re making vitamin K, they’re making biotin, they’re making short chain fatty acids, which are essential for the brain and the lining of the colon. Glyphosate targets all that. And if you damage the friendly bugs in the gut, you damage every part of the body.

Manda: Right. And one of the things that really stood out to me, one of the many, many things; was that glyphosate can reduce fertility in men. And I thought if that was out there, if the blokes who wander around with their knapsacks, even in our village, frantically spraying every single weed that they can possibly see, knew that it was knackering potentially their fertility, I suspect it would be a lot less popular than it is, and I wonder why that isn’t widely known. Is it simply because the producers have got very big lawyers and they’re frightening everybody into silence? Or is there some other reason why that understanding is not getting above the radar?

Jenny: Well, all of the above. I mean, we live in a very noisy environment, don’t we? And it’s hard to get the truth heard. So you will periodically see headlines saying ‘male fertility is plummeting’ and it is plummeting among humans, but also among deer, among fish, among all sorts of wild animals. And there are many causes. Pesticides, insecticides are absolutely one of them. Plasticisers is another.

Manda: And we’re going to come on to forever chemicals in the rain shortly, and they’re another. So it’s hard to pin it down to one.

Jenny: Well, it’s always multifactorial. We’re exposed to a cocktail of toxins, and the guy spraying the verges has probably also got his mobile phone in his pocket irradiating his testicles. They did do a study a long time ago, before mobile phones, of farmers in Denmark. And they found the organic farmers had the highest sperm counts ever, and the ones who were spraying pesticides around the place had a very low sperm count.

Manda: You’d think that would get through the farming community pretty darn fast, wouldn’t you?

Jenny: You would think so. Well, I shall be speaking to the farming community in a week or two, and we’ll see. It’s economically very difficult for them to transition to organic. They need government support and they’re not getting it. The government are supporting the huge Agrichemical Monocrop farms, which are devastating our countryside and providing the fuel for the junk food industry.

Manda: Right. Yes, because there’s a food and farming industry and we have the best democracy money can buy; I say this often on the podcast. That we don’t have a democracy, we just have a kleptocracy and the people with the money decide who who makes the future decisions that keep the people with the money in the money. And so it’s very hard to break that cycle.

Jenny: Yeah, Yeah.

Manda: So we’ve only touched on a few of the things that are poisonous in our food, but we need to keep moving forward to the other things. Let’s have a quick look at what people can do that is constructive. Let’s just take a quick segway of this is bad in people our age; you and I qualified at much the same time, we’ve had a good life on the planet, we’re doing okay. The individuals most affected are the ones who are not yet born. And then the next affected are the babies and the children. And it’s horrendous. And you are seeing as a doctor, as far as I understand it, an absolutely overwhelming, as you said, epidemic of childhood diseases that that were hardly seen when you and I were kids.

Jenny: That’s right.

Manda: And so what can parents do who care about their kids? What can anybody do who cares about what they eat? What are the immediate things that anybody listening to this can do, to reduce the harm in the food that we’re given?

Jenny: I mean, the first thing is, in this conversation, you and I are taking for granted the fact that there is an epidemic of these diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, birth defects, autism, Alzheimer’s and so on. Now there is, but most people don’t realise it because of what ecologists call shifting baseline syndrome. It seems normal to us. I stand in a room full of people and say put your hand up if you know anybody with cancer, and every hand in the room goes up. 50 years ago it would have been half a dozen hands. What is familiar becomes normalised, and the response is to run races and raise money for research, which is actually just funding the drug companies. But we need to realise it is not normal or natural to have these rates of chronic degenerative disease. Now what we are told, the official story is it’s because we have an ageing population. And in a minute I will go on to what we can do about this and to protect ourselves. But it’s crucial to nail that lie. Firstly, we don’t have an ageing population. What they’re saying is we’re now living into our 80s and 90s, but in the 1850s, in Dickens time, the average age of death was 45. Now this is a mathematical trick: the average age of death was 45, because a quarter of all children died before their fifth birthday. Of infectious diseases like scarlet fever and TB and diphtheria and so on, and dysentery and diarrhoea because of appalling hygiene and crowded living conditions and poverty.

Jenny: If you take those child deaths out, then you get exactly the same lifespan as we have today, with the crucial difference that they did not spend their last ten years in a hideous twilight of disability and fog. They lived fit and healthy. And this is how the workhouse was a possible institution; people in their 80s could still work six days a week. It was criminal, of course, but the point is they lived fit and healthy and compos mentis until they died. We don’t anymore. The other huge lie is that ageing population is the reason for the increase in cancer and so on. Because they will say cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease are diseases of ageing. Well, they used to be, but they ain’t anymore because cancer is going up fastest among children, right? I need to say that again. It’s not a disease of ageing, or at least the increase in it is nothing to do with ageing, because rates of cancer are going up faster among teenagers than among adults and faster among children, and even babies. I wrote something 20 years ago that rather dystopianly predicted cancer in the baby in the womb and unfortunately we are starting to see it.

Manda: Oh my God.

Jenny: And that’s because all the chemicals that we have talked about and are going to talk about, the pesticides and the plasticisers and so on, they damage the DNA. If you damage our DNA, our genetic material, the code, the instructions for making a living being…

Manda: Passes on down the lines.

Jenny: It passes on so you get birth defects, and in the person themself, even if they’ve already had children, you get cancer. So when cells reproduce abnormally, you get cancer and you get birth defects. And this is tragically what we’re seeing. And each individual case is seen as a tragedy in its own right. And when you’re in the midst of that tragedy, you cannot ask yourself why. And the last thing you want to hear is someone like me saying, you know what? This could have been prevented. So let’s talk about prevention. Number one is eating organically produced food. And I cannot overstress how crucial this is or how possible it is. You don’t even have to go to your supermarket and look for organic produce there, because it’s plastic wrapped anyway, which is not so great. There are countless companies, local and national, all over Britain now, like Riverford, Abel and Cole and many others that will deliver an organic veg box to your door. And it doesn’t just have to be veg, you know it can be fruit and veg and meat and eggs.

Manda: And beans and peas and all the pulses.

Jenny: Well that you tend not to need to get from a fresh, organic delivery person. They tend to do stuff that needs to go in the fridge. But there’s a wonderful company called Hodmedods.

Manda: We’ve spoken to Hodmedods.

Jenny: Right, I’m sure you have. So Josiah Meldrum and Co, they are encouraging and facilitating farmers in the UK to grow all these wonderful pulses that used to be and are native to this country, so we don’t have to import them across the globe with all the air miles that that implies. And they are an excellent source of vegetable protein and so on. And, you know, nuts. You can buy everything organically these days. And what people say to me is, oh, I can’t afford organic food. It’s more expensive.

Manda: That was my next question. Yes.

Jenny: Yeah it is. It is. Now, first of all, the answer to this is not to say, along with Marie Antoinette, then let them eat junk, let them eat pesticides, all right? Because there’s no reason why the poor should have to eat junk, and only the middle class be able to afford organic. There are numerous schemes in London and other cities facilitating the access of everybody to organically grown and regeneratively grown produce. So it is there if you look and in the resources section of the book, I’ve got massive long lists of how people can access it. But I would also say, because there are plenty of people who can easily afford to eat organic and are not doing; prioritise it. Back in the 50s and 60s, we spent 33% of our income on food, a third of our income. Now it’s down to 8%. Now that’s partly because house prices are out of order, but it’s also because we’re prioritising differently. I swear to you, I have had people sit there in my consultation and say, now look, I can’t afford these blood tests and I can’t afford to eat organic. Oh, by the way, can we reschedule the next consultation because I’ll be in Barbados. Well, I’m glad they can afford to get their vitamin D in Barbados. I can’t.

Manda: And they don’t care about flying, frankly.

Jenny: Yeah, exactly. Either the effect on themselves or the effect on the planet, because the health of both is endangered by too much flying. So eating organic, yes, it is more expensive. But you know what? If you were eating ordinary factory farmed, battery farmed chicken three times a week and you changed to eating organic chicken once a week, which is all you need, then you’re actually spending less, not more. You will also vastly reduce your chances of getting ill and getting cancer. And if you do get ill, that makes it very hard to earn any money because you’re not fit to work. So it is an economic investment in your future to eat organic. And you can eat less meat. Not none for most people, but a lot less meat. And yes, organic is more expensive, but just eat less of it. And yeah, it has to be prioritised and it’s a campaigning issue. The government should be subsidising the organic farmers so that it becomes less expensive. Because it is overall, in terms of its cost to the planet and to the taxpayer, organic is less expensive. Because factory farming, monocrop farming using all those pesticides, results in a vast amount of waste and environmental damage, which we, the taxpayer, have to pay to clear up.

Manda: Can I ask a quick question? Because about this time last year, we spoke to David Montgomery and Anna Bikle, who wrote What Your Food Ate and one of the things that I internalised from their book and others, is that organic is a step and then regenerative is another step. They had done a lot of studies where they went to organic farms and they went to genuinely regenerative farms, because organic can still be monocultures, it can still have quite a lot of inputs. It just doesn’t have glyphosate and NPK and the really, truly horrendous things. And the thing that really stuck for me was the omega three:omega six ratios were inverted in the non regenerative. The regenerative one was the healthy one that our gut biome evolved to work with, and the 3:6 ratio in either conventional or organic cereal fed cattle, sheep, dairy, whatever, was inverse. And that it was much healthier to go regenerative, even if the regenerative wasn’t necessarily certified organic. I live on an organic smallholding; it costs us a fortune to certify. And I wonder, is that too complex for most people? Is it just easier to go just Soil Association certified, go with it. And those of us who want to go Alpha two milk, for instance, and pasture fed, that’s a step beyond and even more expensive.

Jenny: I think it’s important that we open our minds to complexity and embrace it. Actually, we do have to take all this on board, right? So yeah, regenerative means looking after the soil so it will be able to sustain not just another dozen years of crops, but forever. And actually when it’s proper soil association organic, it does that. You find that the the soil depth, the top soil depth, gets greater by half an inch year on year, whereas in conventional farming it gets thinner and thinner and the soil is running out. But I would say the most important thing for our health is to not be eating poison. And therefore, actually I do rate the Soil Association certification, expensive as it is. And I think we have to be careful about the regenerative label, because most organic farmers are regenerative as well; they’re looking after the soil. But a lot of farmers, let’s be honest, have jumped on the regenerative bandwagon and they can say, oh, we’re conserving our soil. We’re not digging it up.

Manda: They’re doing glyphosate and no till and that’s horrendous. Yeah.

Jenny: Exactly. Ploughing does release the carbon and so on and it turns the poor old earthworms upside down. So they can say that they’re not tilling the soil, so they’re regenerating it and they’re using seed drills, but they’re using glyphosate. No. You have to be both. You have to be organic and regenerative. And most truly organic farmers are regenerative. And actually they don’t usually grow monocrops because monocrops encourage pests. And if you’re not using pesticides, you can’t do that. So what they tend to have is mixed, varied companion planting, like permaculture gardeners do, like biodynamic gardeners do.

Manda: Agroecology where you have trees and then rows of different things; beans and wheat all separate.

Jenny: Yes, exactly. In other words, you’re just imitating nature, where you would have plants, trees, shrubs, animals browsing, you’d have the whole lot together. And that keeps the balance so you don’t get pests. It’s so basic. It’s so common sense. There’s no profit in it for the big chemical companies. So one one plant protects another plant, you know, it’s as simple as that. And some of these dreadful pesticides, not only are they poisonous, but they kill the friendly bugs that would prey on the bad bugs you’re trying to kill. So by having that diversity in organic farming, you reduce the need for the pesticides in the first place. And I do show in the book that actually we will produce more if we’re all organic. Yields don’t go down, they go up. So this nonsense about we have to use chemicals and genetic modification to feed the 10 billion, this is a lie. This is not the case.

Manda: Yeah. And will sequester carbon into the soil, building soil. David Johnson at New Mexico demonstrated that if every farm on the planet became regenerative tomorrow, we would be back at preindustrial levels of CO2 within ten years. And I heard that in 2017 and I thought then this is a no brainer. Yes, sorry monsanto goes out of business, oh dear, how sad. Why are we not doing this? We’re not doing it because food and farming is an industry and it’s a racket.

Jenny: And because we don’t know. But what we can do is vote with our wallets. The more people buy organic and stop buying the factory farmed junk, the more the factory farmed junk will go out of business. I mean, this is the power we have as consumers. We can make a difference. So yeah, eating organic is crucial and filtering your water.

Manda: Right, let’s move on to water. I was just thinking I meant to do a 10 or 15 minutes on each thing, and we’re already 35 minutes in, which is classic and was always going to happen. So let’s move to water. It’s worth saying the book is laid out elementally, which I love. Earth first and then water, and then we’ll move on to the others. So yes, tell us what’s dangerous in our water, because we have Watershed coming on later in the year to talk a lot about forever chemicals, but they won’t be talking about what’s actually put in the water that comes out of our drinking taps deliberately. So let’s talk about both. But we probably don’t need to go hugely into the PFAS.

Jenny: Okay, so some of what’s coming out of our taps is water, H2O, and the rest is toxins, some accidental and some deliberate. So let’s talk about the first one, which is deliberate, which is chlorine. And chlorine is in the water not as concentrated as it is in swimming pools, but it’s there and it’s there to kill the bad bugs. Now it is necessary to make sure there’s no toxic bacteria, dangerous bacteria in our water. But there’s another way of doing it, which is what the Dutch do, and they use a form of physical filtering followed by ultraviolet radiation. Ultraviolet is from the sun, it’s known to kill all germs, and it’s completely safe. Unlike chlorine, it doesn’t result in what we call disinfection by-products. And there’s a long list of chemical names, I won’t bore you with them, but they’re coming out of your tap if you’re not filtering your water. So it’s a bit like drinking the swimming pool. A second thing is fluoride. Now fluoride is not put in the water everywhere in the UK. It’s everywhere in North America, it’s nowhere in Europe. It is in the Republic of Ireland. And in the rest of Britain and Northern Ireland there have been big fights about whether to allow fluoridation or not, but it has been in the water in Birmingham and the West Midlands since 1964.

Jenny: And I have seen a completely disproportionate number of children from Birmingham with bone damage and brain damage, neurodevelopmental abnormalities that often the doctors can’t give a name to. And when I measure the level of fluoride in their urine, of course it’s sky high and concomitantly their iodine levels are rock bottom or zero because fluoride pushes iodine out of the body. So these kids have got damaged bone structure and damaged brain. You can repair a lot of the brain damage by two very simple measures: installing a water filter and giving iodine. But I haven’t been able to repair much of the bone damage, that seems to be structural, it seems to be permanent. And we know that Birmingham and other areas with high levels of fluoride have a higher rate of osteosarcoma, a rare primary bone tumour in young people in their teens and 20s. This has been known and covered up for many decades and I go into great detail, I would say I have a jolly good rant about it in chapter three of the book. Because fluoride is not a nutrient. It’s not an element that has any role in human biochemistry, it has no place in our bodies, but it damages the brain, the bone, the kidneys, the thyroid.

Manda: Tell us why it’s in the water. Because that blew all the fuses in my brain. I was so angry I had to put the book down and walk away.

Jenny: I mean, this is profoundly shocking. What it is, the fluoride that’s put in our water, in the form of hexafluorosilicic acid, hexafluoro meaning six atoms of fluoride, is a by-product, a waste product of the phosphate fertiliser industry. So wheels within wheels, all right. So they used to admit that it was a waste product, and now on their websites they cunningly call it a co-product. And the story is they’re making phosphate fertilisers for the farmers and they’re making fluoride for the children’s teeth. So we put it in everybody’s water supply, and it’s supposed to protect children’s teeth. From what? From decay. Firstly, the way to protect children’s teeth is to brush them and to cut out sugar. I’ll say it again. Brush your teeth, cut out sugar, very little tooth decay. But the story is it’s good for children’s teeth, and it certainly makes teeth harder, but it makes them more brittle and it makes bones harder.

Manda: And more brittle.

Jenny: And it makes them more brittle. It’s called dental fluorosis, or skeletal fluorosis. Too much fluoride gives you a brown green discolouration of the teeth. So it’s not about children’s teeth. It’s about solving a massive, powerful industries waste disposal problem. Because in the 40s and 50s, they were forbidden to release this fluoride into the rivers or onto the fields, because when they did, cattle would die and the crops would die. So they have renamed it a co-product and they sell it to local authorities who put it in the water. But they call it a water treatment agent, they don’t call it a medicine, because then it would have to go through all this testing regime. So it’s a mystery to me why local authorities and water companies and governments would want to buy up all this toxic fluoride from the phosphate fertiliser industry and put it in our drinking water supply, but that’s what they’re doing.

Manda: One assumes that they believe, somebody along the line must think that they’re doing a good thing. They’re not all completely evil, I assume. I mean, they’ve been elected.

Jenny: They must genuinely think, and almost all dentists do genuinely think that fluoride protects children’s teeth. But the fact is, if you look at the graphs showing the decline in dental decay among children since the 1970s up to now, is going down exactly the same in the countries that have fluoride in their drinking water and the countries that don’t. It appears to have made no difference whatsoever to tooth decay, but it certainly has been shown in many, many studies to lower children’s IQ. And in fact, there were parts of China where the fluoride in the soil was naturally rather high, and the children in those villages had a much lower IQ. So they started science projects to try and reduce the fluoride and take it out, because it overwhelmingly is lowering children’s IQ, particularly boys. I don’t know why boys are more vulnerable than girls. In Mexico they put fluoride in the salt and it is doing exactly the same damage.

Manda: But this is basic epidemiology. And in the book you have also that Finland put fluoride in the water, decided it was a really bad idea, took it out, no difference to kids teeth. But presumably a difference to their IQ. This is really basic epidemiology. Why do people not know this?

Jenny: Because it’s very, very, very strongly suppressed. Very strongly suppressed. And there’s a wonderful book all about this called The Case Against Fluoride by Doctor Paul Connett. I highly recommend it, all the information is in there. But you try to get a paper published in an academic journal, there are plenty, but it’s very, very hard. I mean, the study on osteosarcoma was done years ago and they haven’t been able to repeat it because who funds these studies? Who’s going to fund the study? So there is an issue not only with Finland, but with Chile and Cuba, which both put fluoride in the water and hurriedly took it out again. And in Chile at the time they put the fluoride in, most infants were being bottle fed, so water straight from the tap into their formula and their infant mortality rate shot up. So they saw this and they they took the fluoride out again. So again we need to do two things. We need to campaign, and there are details of the UK and American campaigns in the book, to stop it, because it’s a live issue now. They’re trying to put fluoride in the north east of England, and there’s a campaign against it, and you need to join the consultation. And we need to filter our water. Now, we shouldn’t need to, but we do.

Manda: And it’s expensive. Again the poorest people are going to suffer most.

Jenny: Yes. And that is always the way. And it’s profoundly unjust. If you can possibly afford to filter your water, then do so. And you need to get a filter that takes out the halogens, that’s chlorine and fluoride. Okay, so moving on to the next thing that should not be coming out of your tap, but is coming out of your tap, is plastic chemicals.

Manda: Forever chemicals?

Jenny: Well, yeah, they are forever because they don’t biodegrade. They break down into smaller and smaller particles till you have nanoplastics. And just like the pesticides, they sit on oestrogen receptors and act as oestrogen mimics. So you want to get rid of them. I think I’ve mentioned them already, haven’t I? An example was the little boy who was growing breasts. So some of these leave the body, particularly BPA bisphenol A, it will leave the body within 24 hours. So although it’s toxic, it’s not persistent. All you have to do is stop exposing yourself to it. So stop eating anything out of tins, which tends to be junk anyway and nutritionally depleted, because the tins are lined with plastic. Stop drinking water out of plastic bottles. Plastic bottles are damaging our health and they’re damaging the planet simultaneously, because firstly there are microplastics, hundreds of thousands of particles in that water. And the warmer it is, the more the plastic comes out into the water. So if you have a plastic bottle of water and it’s in your car and the sun is shining through the glass, you are drinking plastic. And you can actually taste it. And also don’t wrap anything in cling film or plastic wrap, because the softer the plastic and the closer its contact with the food, the more you’re eating it. But it’s not just through our water and through our food that we’re getting these microplastics. We’re also getting it through our clothing. And this is something I only learned a couple of years ago in the course of starting to write the book. I spoke at a lovely event called Sustainable Fashion Week in September ’22, and there I discovered that all synthetic clothes are actually plastic.

Jenny: That nylon and polyester and rayon, all synthetic fabrics are actually petrochemicals. They are plastic. And firstly, it’s touching your skin. And secondly, when you wash it in the washing machine, it’s releasing hundreds of thousands of microfibers of plastic into the environment, which eventually comes back to bite us. And thirdly, when you throw them away, even if you recycle them, eventually they end up in landfill. And that’s more plastic in the ocean and in the soil. So the answer is, well, as they said at Sustainable Fashion Week, the most sustainable garment you own is the one that’s already in your wardrobe. Don’t take it to the charity shop when you’ve had enough of it. It’ll only end up in a dump in Africa. I was really shocked to learn this. Most of the stuff in our charity shops doesn’t get bought, gets sent to Africa, undermines the local textile economies, and ends up poisoning their soil and their water. What you need to do is to reuse, adapt, sew, repair, swap, sell, right? There are enough garments on the planet, says Amelia Twine of Sustainable Fashion Week, to clothe the next six generations.

Manda: Blinking heck.

Jenny: So fast fashion is another addiction we need to break. It’s another example of where consumer power could transform the industry. And try and make sure any clothes you do buy are made from natural fabrics; that’s cotton, wool, linen, hemp. Fibreshed are a really good source of information about this. Look up Fibreshed. They’re even making clothes out of stinging nettles now, which are apparently really silky and soft and they don’t sting. And if you can afford it and if you can find it, make sure the cotton is organically grown.

Manda: Yeah. Because cotton is one of the most polluting things on the planet in terms of the insecticides used and the water.

Jenny: A huge amount of insecticides and a huge amount of water. But PAN, the Pesticide Action Network, are assisting farmers in two parts of Africa to grow their cotton organically. And it turns out it’s really easy to do. And in fact, when you grow it organically, it requires less water, not more. So there’s Greenfibres of Totnes and there’s various other places you can get organic cotton. They’re all listed in the resources section of the book.

Manda: And Fibershed is really good for wool. We used to do a lot of wool work in this family and wool is a fantastic fibre. I don’t know why people don’t use it more. It’s not easy to put through a standard washing machine I think is part of the answer. We have to look different and treat ourselves differently and probably smell different. We’ll get on to that at the end. Alrighty.

Jenny: Forever chemicals include the PFA’s, but also formaldehyde and all these horrible things which are used to make clothes noncrinkle and stain resistant and all of that. PFA’s are perfluoro alkyl compounds and there’s a lot of info about them now, PFA’s. And if you avoid plastic, you’ll largely be avoiding the PFA’s.

Manda: Except the ones in the water and the rain.

Jenny: Which is why you have to filter your water. I mean, you can remove 90% of this from your body, but not 100%. But yes, the PFA’s are everywhere, but you don’t need to be drinking them and you don’t need to be wearing them. So forget the non crinkle shirts. So what else is in the water? Well sewage is in the rivers now, like it was in the 1850s which is beyond scandalous, and that’s one of the many reasons the water companies need to be renationalised. Betraying my origins here. Because if there’s an incentive for profit, there’s an incentive to not bother to treat the sewage properly and they will dump it in the rivers. But there’s one other thing that’s in the water that most people don’t expect, and that’s drugs. So you may think you’re not taking any drugs and that you’re quite disconnected from the pharmaceutical industry, but everyone else in the country, or a lot of people, are taking drugs like antidepressants, anti-inflammatories, steroids, the pill, hormone replacement therapy. There’s a lot of oestrogen. And everyone who takes antibiotics and that’s farm animals as well and our pets, a lot of them are on drugs if they’re not organically farmed. So all of us, people and animals, are peeing and that finds its way into the water table, which finds its way into the soil, into the food, into the tap, into us. So another reason for filtering your water is not to be drinking the residues of other people’s drugs. And of course, the solution is twofold here. One is filter your water and the other is we need to practice both human medicine and veterinary medicine quite differently, so that we prescribe and take vastly fewer drugs.

Manda: Yes. I’m going to do a couple of conversations with people more on the veterinary side. Because again, when I qualified as a vet oncology was a fairly minor study, maybe 1 in 20, and now it’s 1 in 1.65, because the dogs particularly are at the level of the car exhaust.

Jenny: Yes, exactly.

Manda: And so we’re going to go on now to talk about air. But I think it’s worth saying, I say that to a lot of people and vets and they go, yeah, that’s because our diagnostics are better. And no, it’s not because our diagnostics are better.

Jenny: Dogs used to live longer.

Manda: Yes. And they were healthier. And partly it’s what we’re feeding them. But also it’s, you know, like everything else, it’s what’s in the food, what’s in the water, what’s in the air and what’s contacting their skin. So next of the elements is air. What are we breathing that’s bad, Jenny, and how can we help ourselves avoid that, too?

Jenny: Well, we are breathing the results of the burning of fossil fuels. So trees that died millions of years ago, bits of animals that died millions of years ago, are doing us no harm if they’re left under the earth. But for a few hundred years now or longer, we’ve been digging them up and mining them, and so now we’ve got crude oil and we’ve got everything it turns into, which is petrol, diesel, plastics and pharmaceuticals and synthetic clothing. When that is burned for energy and we do need some energy, um, and we haven’t really begun the proper transition to renewables. When that’s burnt, it releases a whole long list of toxic chemicals, which I have listed in the book. I won’t impose that list on you now, but all of them are toxic, all of them are carcinogenic. And the only thing coming out of your exhaust pipe that is not poisonous, ironically enough, is carbon dioxide. I mean, carbon dioxide may be causing a lot of other problems in terms of the climate, but it’s not poisonous to us.

Manda: Unless we breathe an awful lot of it.

Jenny: No, not unless we have so much that it displaces our oxygen. So basically the plants need carbon dioxide, we breathe it out, the trees breathe it in; they breathe out oxygen, we breathe it in. Whether the amount of CO2 currently being released is enough to damage that, I don’t know. It’s certainly enough to warm up the planet. But my concern in the air pollution chapter of this book is about the damage that it’s doing to our bodies. All the other toxins, from benzene to polyaromatic hydrocarbons to carbon monoxide to particulate matter, PM pollution. Now although it’s coming out of exhaust pipes, it’s solid. But tiny nano particles of soot essentially coated with all sorts of other toxic chemicals. So mixed in with these petrochemicals are heavy metals. Now, we didn’t talk about heavy metals in the context of soil, although they’re there as well. But because of mining, mercury, aluminium, cadmium, lead, nickel, many other heavy metals are in the earth. So if you make a housing estate on what was an old industrial site or an old mine, and the people have their gardens there, there are heavy metals in that soil. But they’re also in the air because the crude oil is not completely free of heavy metals; what’s in the earth is all mixed up in the earth. So some heavy metals are being released from car exhausts as well as from power stations and other kind of factories.

Jenny: Anything that’s burning fossil fuels is releasing heavy metal into the atmosphere, and we’re inhaling it. So this outdoor air pollution, more than anything else I’ve discussed in the book, is a political issue that we have to address collectively, through campaigning and other action. Because there is a limit to how much you can reduce your own exposure to outdoor air pollution. I mean, if you can move to the depths of the country and you’re in an organically farmed area so you’re not inhaling pesticides, then fine, You’ve got away from the air pollution. But most of us live in the city, and the poor people tend to live on the big main roads. Twas ever thus, just like they used to have to go down the mines. So we are breathing in this stuff, and small differences make big differences, actually. It has been shown that if you walk as far as possible from the kerb, you are inhaling a lot less pollution than if you walk on the kerb because these pollutants, although they’re toxic, they don’t travel very far. So do keep away. If you can possibly walk not on the main roads but on the back routes. If it takes you ten minutes longer, that’s good. You’ve had more exercise and you’re away from the pollution. So avoid the main roads and if you have no choice, then walk as far as possible from the traffic.

Manda: Can I ask about cycling? I have many friends who cycle and they say they’re fitter and better, but they’re there in the traffic.

Jenny: Yeah, if they’re cycling in the city, they’re inhaling a lot of junk, and it’s a difficult one, isn’t it? Because if everybody cycled, the air would be really pure. So we do need more cycling and less diesel, less petrol. But if I were cycling in the city, I would wear a mask of some kind, you know, a proper cycling mask, because I think it makes a difference. Now here we come into a really tricky area. We come up against the clash of two freedoms: my freedom to breathe clean air, your freedom to drive your shiny new car.

Manda: Your SUV in the city.

Jenny: A lot of people are profoundly attached to their vehicles. Actually more in the countryside…

Manda: Because there’s no public transport. I speak from experience.

Jenny: Exactly. Now, my solution to this, what we need and it can be done, apparently they’re doing it in Finland and some other Nordic countries; we need public transport that’s not privatised, that’s government funded local authority organised. That’s green, clean, very cheap, very efficient, reliable and pleasant. Apparently the trains in Finland have carriages for children to play in, like a whole kindergarten carriage, so that it’s a pleasant experience and spacious and non-polluting. If we made our public transport really cheap and really pleasant to use, spacious and reliable, people would use it and they would choose, particularly in the city they would choose not to have a car. But what’s actually happening is more of an attempt at coercion. And a lot of people in London and in Oxford and other places are deeply resenting the congestion charge and the ultra low emission zones and so on, and say, I want the freedom to drive my car. Well, yes, if you can’t get there easily by public transport. So I think there’s an analogy with the way I do medicine, which is I say, put the good stuff in before you take the bad stuff out. So before I start the detox, the poisons out of anyone’s system, I will make sure their vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, that’s omega three and omega six are at tip top optimum levels. Then you’re in a position to start taking the bad stuff out. The body copes that way. The human psyche will cope much better if we put brilliant public transport in, and then it becomes uneconomical to use your car. And this is real. This was the case in Sheffield in the 1980s, where the buses were so frequent and so cheap that nobody would buy a car because it wasn’t worth it economically. I think if we go that way about it, rather than, you’re a naughty boy you’ve got to give up your car, we will do better.

Manda: And I think this is one of the places where AI might help. It has many problems, but we all have a model of public transport of big bus 20, 30, 60, 100 people in it on a particular route and none turn up for hours and then three turn up at once. Or trains that are stuffy and horrible and people try to bomb them. And actually now, AI could have a car that takes four people and it may be self-driven or not too long from now it may have a human driving it. And you put in your route; I need to go to the chemist. You had this as an example in the book. I need to go to the chemist to pick up dad’s prescription. I need to drop it off with my sister, then I need to drop the kids at school, then I need to get to work. And it could map that and find that there are three other people doing sufficiently similar enough that you guys share the ride, for now. It comes and picks you up at your house. It drops you at the chemist. Another one comes, picks you up ten minutes later, drops you at your sisters. Another one picks you up, or the same one, drops you at school with the kids and then takes you to work. And it’s effortless for you. It’s absolutely tailored to exactly what you need. And this is the kind of thing that AI would be very, very good at.

Manda: And it would transform the nature of what we call public transport from basically carts that carry lots of people, to this is yours, and you don’t need the hassle of a car that basically is going to be parked for 80% of its life, because that’s what cars are. On which you’re paying insurance and road tax and all the other things. You just pay for the miles that you do. And it’s exactly as you said, community owned. This is a community benefit company. The people who use it are the people who own it, and they are the people who are making the money from its process. So in the end, you’re not paying very much for your transport. And that model of public transport is not getting as much traction as I think it should. No. So I just wanted to say that, because it’s obvious, but it’s not being pushed because exactly as you said, triggered people are easy to control and the Right has decided that triggering over you own a car, you have the right to drive it wherever the heck you like whatever damage it’s doing to people, is part of their stick. And what’s interesting now, I have a friend who goes on to GB news, he’s incredibly brave. And he says more or less what we’ve just said, and the presenters who come in going, I need to be allowed to drive any size of car anywhere I like, by the end of listening to basically the damage that it does are beginning to rethink. So there is, I think, because everybody has kids who have to breathe air.

Jenny: Yeah, exactly. So children’s noses, little children’s noses are at the same height as the exhaust pipes. As you said, dogs noses are at the same height of the exhaust pipes. And we know that the benzene that’s coming out of petrol and diesel cars is causing leukaemia, especially among children. And we know that millions of people worldwide are dying from air pollution. We know that children in really polluted cities like Santiago in Chile, like Mexico City. I hope you’re sitting tight before I say this: children are being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Children. Because of the brain damage from the pollution. And it’s the petrochemicals mixed with heavy metals in the air goes into the lungs. They’re such fine particles that they don’t stick in the lungs. They go through the lungs into the circulation and they get into the brain. So this pollution that we’re making is completely lethal. And one of the answers that’s been suggested is electric vehicles. Now electric vehicles are non-polluting locally, but there are really worrying ethical issues about how the batteries for them are made right. They require rare metals and not so rare ones like nickel, which are being mined in places like Indonesia, where the indigenous people are being brutally thrown off their land for that purpose, and in Congo where enslaved children are working. So I’m not so comfortable about electric vehicles, but there are mitigating factors and ways it could be made more ethical and the mining could be put on a more ethical footing. And I discussed these with a transport expert whom I interviewed and that’s in chapter four. But yeah, I think in the end we have to let go of private car ownership and I think the shared taxi system you describe is perfectly feasible. It’s common in many other countries even without AI. I Mean, that’s what you get all over Asia, you get a shared taxi with half a dozen people going the same way. So yeah, it is possible because the air is shared and they haven’t privatised it yet, although I’m sure they’d like to.

Manda: I’m sure it’s going to be hard though. Anything you can’t put a boundary around is really hard to monetise and so air is going to be quite low on the list of things they’re going to monetise. I think we’re going to hit biophysical limits before they work out how to do that. So that’s okay.

Jenny: The air inside your home is another matter. And we’ll come on to that later. Much easier to control.

Manda: All right. So we’ve done earth, water, air. Fourth element is fire. And you use fire really constructively. Talk to us about your Fire chapter.

Jenny: Well, unlike earth, water and air, I’ve used the term fire semi metaphorically. I’m talking about energy. Obviously, fire is a form of energy, and what I’m meaning is electromagnetic radiation, the energy of the universe, which is on a vast spectrum from gamma rays and X-rays at one extreme, which are short wavelength, high frequency; to the opposite extreme, which is very low frequency, very long wavelength, which is what’s coming out of our mobile phones. Now, in the middle of that electromagnetic spectrum is visible light, the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, Violet that we all learned at school. And that’s what’s natural for us, along with ultraviolet, just the other side of purple and infrared just the other side of red. That’s what we’ve evolved with, that’s what our bodies need, the visible spectrum, infrared and ultraviolet. They’re good for us. They’re essential. We can cope with them. However, in the past few decades we have been exposed also to the extreme. So we’ve been exposed to x rays, but we’ve also been exposed to nuclear radiation from Hiroshima and Nagasaki to all the nuclear tests that they’ve been doing ever since, equivalent to 40,000 times Hiroshima and Nagasaki globally.

Manda: That blew my mind 40,000 times Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been tested on the planet, so that the boys who are frankly feeling inadequate at the top of the political tree, can have a red button to push if they’re feeling cross. It’s unbelievable.

Jenny: It is, it is. And and we’ve all been exposed to that. And where we see what it’s doing is where we have nuclear power stations allegedly producing nuclear power for peaceful uses, going wrong. So we have the accident at Sellafield, which was Windscale in 1957, and at Kyshtym the same year in the Soviet Union and at Chernobyl in 1986, and in Japan at Fukushima in 2011 wasn’t it? And those disasters are just the tip of the iceberg. There have been vastly more in America that have been mostly covered up for a long time, like the Savannah River disaster and a few others, which I discuss in chapter five of the book. So that’s just the nuclear accidents. And what we see is rates of thyroid cancer rocketing in children. Thyroid cancer doesn’t exist in children, right? It’s something that’s caused by the radioactive iodine from the explosion getting into the children’s bodies. And let me stop right now and give you a tip. If you want to protect your thyroid gland from any possible release of radioactive iodine, make sure that it is already full up with non-radioactive iodine. Ordinary iodine that you get from white fish, or from kelp, or from seaweed, or from an iodine supplement.

Manda: Can I ask briefly about that? Because I also read quite a lot of stuff about how contaminated the sea is at the moment. And I’m not sure that being near the sea or eating kelp these days is necessarily the best thing you could be doing. And I don’t want to eat fish. I’ve stopped eating fish because we’re overfishing so badly. Is there a way of getting iodine that’s safe and ethical?

Jenny: Yes. I mean iodine supplements. You can you can take iodine supplements. Seagreens is a safe brand. In an ideal world, you would test your urine level for iodine, which you can do at Viva Health Laboratories. I’m not sure where in America. But it’s a really cheap, simple test and take accordingly. But we do need iodine and the chlorine and the fluoride in our water are pushing it out of our bodies. So it’s not only that we don’t have enough in our diet, but the body works on chemistry, not physics in the sense that it recognises an element according to the configuration of the electrons in the outermost orbit of the atom. Now, all that’s different between ordinary iodine and radioactive iodine is in the nucleus of the iodine, the number of neutrons. The body doesn’t see that because it’s not evolved to expect it. Therefore, if you’re short of iodine in your thyroid gland and there’s radioactive iodine in the air, the water, the soil, your body will take it. So make sure you’ve already got an optimum iodine level and then you’ll be one of the people who doesn’t get thyroid cancer when Sellafield explodes or there’s another explosion in Ukraine, which is where Chernobyl is, and it drifts over here. Now, they have been using uranium weapons, uranium enriched weapons in the war in Ukraine, and they’ve measured at Aldermaston and the amount that’s coming over here is significant. So the nuclear particles, the radioactive particles are coming over here and they’re there anyway on the beach at Sellafield and wherever else there are nuclear reactors. We can protect ourselves against this, partly, as I say, by having good levels of iodine, but also good levels of magnesium and calcium, particularly magnesium in the bone. Because strontium 90 is another radioactive element that’s around and some people would take tiny amounts of strontium. It is a normal component of bone, the non-radioactive form of it, but I would say only in small amounts because it’s only a small component naturally.

But again, if your bones are full up with the magnesium and the calcium that it needs, which means primarily get loads of sunshine when you can and take vitamin D supplements when you can’t (vitamin D3) then your bones will be strong enough to resist that. But again, essentially it’s a campaigning issue. I had long discussions with Greenpeace, friends of the Earth and the Green Party, and they all have written into their policies but buried deep a commitment to phase out nuclear. And they’re very clear that it’s not green, it’s not a solution to climate change, we don’t need it and we can manage without it. They all fail to say and it’s lethal and it’s causing leukaemia in children. The best was Greenpeace who did this extraordinary survey after Chernobyl, and they discovered this massive increase in cancer in children around the Chernobyl area. But they don’t shout about it.

Manda: Why?

Jenny: Well, because they’re scared of the power of the nuclear industry, is what Greenpeace told me. And I imagine it applies to the others too. The Green Party were much more cagey. But they are clear when you press them on it, we don’t need nuclear and it’s not green. So anyone that says that nuclear is green, no it isn’t. Yes, it’s not releasing fossil fuels, but it’s releasing something…

Manda: With a half life of tens of thousands of years.

Jenny: Yes, tens of thousands. And what strikes me, being old enough to remember the late 70s and the early 80s, is that in that era, we all knew that nuclear power was dangerous. Everybody knew about the clusters of children with leukaemia around Sellafield.

Manda: Yes. Tell us about your experience as a young doctor, because you mentioned that in the book. And that again blew my poor little fuses in my brain.

Jenny: Yes. I mean, you have to know, at that point I was already in CND. Well, I was in CND in my pushchair, I was on those marches when I was three. So, you know, I did start off with that consciousness. But everyone in the early 80s was walking around with little red and yellow badges that said Nuclear Power? No Thanks! And we knew that children were dying from this around Sellafield, which is still, by the way, considered the most dangerous nuclear power plant on the planet. And there’s all sorts of very dodgy things going on there right now, which I document at the end of chapter five. So I was on the children’s oncology ward, which was a very small part of paediatrics in those days. I was a fourth year medical student. It was still rare for children to get cancer. Two years later, in 1982, the first ever children’s hospice in the world opened. It would have been unthinkable before that. Children with cancer were almost unknown. But I was on this ward and I noticed that all the children there had been sent over from Carlisle Hospital, and that all their addresses were very near Seascale, the village nearest to what was then the Windscale nuclear power plant. And the following year, in response to the revelation of the leukaemia clusters around it, British Nuclear Fuels said oh, what do we do about this? I know we’ll change the name.

Manda: Change the name! That’s all they did was change the ****ing name!

Jenny: And hire a lot of paid scientists to try and prove that it was nonsense. What they actually said was: but the levels of radiation are no higher than background radiation.

Manda: I’ve heard that a lot.

Jenny: Because it’s a completely different kind of radiation to which we’ve never been exposed in our millions of years of biological history. And there they were in the wards in Saint James’s Hospital in Leeds. These kids who’d come over the Pennines from Carlisle. And it’s a long way, it’s a very long way. Why would you send a child from Seascale all the way across the Pennines to a hospital in Leeds? Because I guess they didn’t have paediatric oncology facilities in Carlisle yet. Hardly anywhere did, apart from Great Ormond Street, because it was rare. And I asked the professor, big scary professor, scared little medical student me: sir, all these children have come from near the nuclear power plant in Windscale. And when I look at fathers occupation, (mothers didn’t have occupation in those days, right? So the notes just said name, address, father’s occupation) almost all their dads work in or around the nuclear power station. Have these children, sir got some form of radiation sickness? They all had leukaemia. Is this radiation sickness? And he looked at me and he said, Miss Goodman, I am a clinician. My concern is to treat my patients. I do not inquire about causes. I leave that to the epidemiologists. The epidemiologists were mostly off duty, it seems, but I have found some studies and they do show exactly what I saw. But, you know, it’s profoundly shocking that he wasn’t interested in the causes, he was only interested in treating. And it’s also profoundly heartbreaking that he treated them with chemotherapy and fully half of them died.

Manda: Oh, God. Has that changed in the last 40 years?

Jenny: Yes, it has improved.

Manda: But there seems to have been a really concerted and highly effective greenwash equivalent of nuclear power. I’ve listened to very sane people who are very switched on about the climate emergency, saying that nuclear has to be an integral part of the solution. I’ve also listened to Simon Michaux saying that we’re going to run out of uranium in 75 years, and even if they were able to build one every month for the next 25 years, we wouldn’t be producing enough power to make a significant difference. So there’s a lot of counternarratives going, but they’ve paid a lot of people to say stuff that they presumably believe to be true.

Jenny: One of the reasons we can’t get the dangers of nuclear into the public zone is partly because, as Greenpeace found, BNFL are extremely powerful. I should wear a bullet-proof vest after this podcast, shouldn’t I? But also because climate change, although I believe it’s a terrible threat and very real and happening now, is not the only threat we face. But people find it very hard, understandably, to get their heads around multiple threats and multiple dangers. So climate change is taking up our entire field of vision, and we can’t see that we’re also threatened by dreadful illnesses caused by chemicals and by nuclear radiation.

Manda: And we’re poisoning the oceans. And, you know, we’ve broken six out of the seven boundaries, and the only reason we haven’t broken the seventh is that the ocean is a buffer and ocean acidification when it goes, is going to go very fast. So yeah.

Jenny: Climate change is not the only danger and nuclear power is as dangerous as it ever was. And human nature being what it is, somebody’s always going to be asleep at the wheel. Someone’s going to fall asleep on duty, and there’s going to be more nuclear accidents. There have been nuclear accidents happening since there was nuclear power. And it’s not just accidents. The governments allow these plants to release some of their radioactive waste into the ocean. I mean, it happens at Sellafield all the time. They’re still legally allowed, it’s called licensed releases; they release this stuff into the ocean. And the thing is, the wind and the waves blow it back onshore.

Manda: Or downstream to wherever is the next place where that wave happens to hit. It’s not going to vanish.

Jenny: And it falls on the crops and we eat the crops. But as I say in the book, there’s plenty we can do to protect ourselves against this as well as campaigning against it. So please don’t despair, people, because if we don’t know about this, we can’t change it. If we do know about it, we absolutely can change it and protect ourselves. And I know that all this stuff is really hard to know. We would all rather it were not the case, but it is the case, and the more of us can look it in the face and say, I’m going to do something about this for my own health and my children’s health and the planet. You know, knowledge is power. We can change this.

Manda: Okay. So taking iodine supplements, making sure you’ve got good calcium and magnesium, getting out into the sun. Are there any other relatively straightforward things that listeners can do?

Jenny: Well, yes. Look up a map of UK nuclear power stations and don’t live near one.

Jenny: Don’t live near one if you have a choice. But check, if you’re going for a country walk and you’re on the beach, you don’t want it to be, you know.

Manda: Downstream of Sellafield.

Jenny: Yeah. Don’t go swimming at Seascale.

Manda: You can’t swim anywhere around Britain because your kidneys shut down because of the sewage.

Jenny: No, there are safe places. There absolutely are. It’s about informing ourselves.

Manda: All right. And the book is really detailed on this.

Jenny: Yeah. We should go to the other end of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Manda: Yes, please.

Jenny: Now, this is much more recent. This is stuff we’ve only been exposed to for a couple of decades. And it’s called electromagnetic radiation or electromagnetic fields. And it’s slightly confusing because nuclear is also electromagnetic, but the term seems to be reserved for this end of the spectrum I’m going to be talking about now, which is long wavelength and low frequency. And that’s what’s coming out of your Wi-Fi router. It’s coming out of your Wi-Fi router, your mobile phone, it’s coming out of any device with Bluetooth, and it’s coming out of the mobile phone stations, the cell phone towers, which you may or may not have noticed. They sprang up like mushrooms during lockdown, like mushrooms after rain, and with exactly the same amount of consultation with the public. And people who are electrosensitive, and there are people who can feel it, can’t go near them because they get the most agonising headache, become unable to think, unable to function, go into panic attacks, or become very aggressive – that can happen as well. So we evolved with the electromagnetic field of the Earth. That’s what we evolved with. That’s what’s natural to our bodies, which are electric bodies. And you can be in touch with that again if you stand barefoot on the grass or on a beach (not at Sellafield).

Manda: Or a river, if you can find an unpolluted one.

Jenny: Yeah. And of course, the higher up the mountain you are, the less polluted the river is. But if you get your feet on the earth, you can feel within seconds that relaxation and that sense of rightness that comes from being in touch with the electromagnetic field in which our physical bodies evolved over millennia, many, many millennia. We’re now, indoors particularly, but increasingly outdoors because of the cell phone towers, we are surrounded by frequencies that our cells have absolutely no way of coping with. So our cells signal to each other electrically. Our nerve impulses are transmitted between brain and body, spine and muscles, skin, back to the brain, electrically. All those processes, nerve impulse transmission and cell signalling are what is primarily interfered with by the electromagnetic radiation. I mean, it’s coming from pylons, it’s coming from overhead power lines. I say again, inconvenient as it is, it’s coming from the mobile phone in your pocket. And earlier you were talking about sperm counts plummeting. And this is the major and most recent reason why sperm counts are plummeting, is the men have got the mobile phone in their pocket irradiating their testes. Women have got the phone in their pocket, irradiating their ovaries or in a jacket pocket, irradiating the heart and the breast. And the worst and most frightening thing I have seen is baby in a sling, and babies should be in slings, that’s great. But baby in sling and the sling manufacturer has made a little pocket in the back of the sling, to put a mobile phone in or a hanky. People have got their mobile phone in there because nobody has any idea how dangerous it is.

Jenny: You are irradiating the baby’s heart. It’s inches away. Now the mobile phone manufacturers have taken a leaf out of the tobacco manufacturers book, and they have bought and paid academics handsomely to produce dodgy research trying to show that there’s no effect and that this technology is not implicated, which it is, in brain tumours, other cancers, neurological disease and most of the same things that pesticides and heavy metals cause: Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis. So this electromagnetic radiation is being added to all the other causes of our real pandemics, the diseases that are ravaging the Western world and are about to start ravaging the non-Western world as well. There are hundreds and thousands of studies showing both the damage that this kind of radiation does to our cells in the lab and the damage that it does to us epidemiologically, biologically. There is the evidence and finding it was harder than finding all the other references and scientific studies for all the other chapters put together, because it’s been well suppressed. But it is there and it is in scientific journals. Much of it is. It doesn’t filter down to your average GP, still less the general public.

Jenny: And, you know, you asked me to share my experience on the ward, on the oncology ward in 1980. Well, the year before, I was in Chapel Allerton Hospital in Leeds doing a neurology rotation and other medical students who were on placements all over the city and other hospitals were summoned to the bedside of a man of 44 by the neurology consultant to see a patient with a brain tumour. Why were they summoned?

Manda: Because it was very rare.

Jenny: It was so rare. And I’ve got this vivid memory of the consultant saying, now pay attention. Here’s the here’s the CT scan, here’s where it’s located. Can you connect that with the symptoms? The numbness in his arm? Of course, the whole conversation happens as if the poor man in the bed wasn’t there at all. Because, you know, that was the bedside manner of the day, occasionally still is. And he said to us, take careful note, because the chances are you’ll never see a case like this again in your medical careers. And now I can think of dozens of people who have suffered from brain tumours. Many of them have died. And there are many factors. All the ones we’ve described are in there. But I do believe the main one is the mobile phone held to the ear, and the vast majority of tumours are on the same side as the person characteristically holds their phone. I’ve pulled together all the evidence I can in the book, and I’ve also pointed people to other sources where thousands of such studies are listed showing that this is happening.

Jenny: So the few people who are electrosensitive who actually get a pain in their head when they put their phone to their head, are the canary people down the mine. They know that they can’t cope with it, so they avoid it. The rest of us don’t necessarily avoid it, but there are solutions. There really are solutions which will enable us to stay completely connected with friends and family and colleagues and use the internet and have broadband without this dangerous technology. And in short, it’s physical cables. It’s an Ethernet cable. There’s a port on the back of your laptop and all your other devices, if you plug it into an Ethernet cable, then you don’t need to be exposing yourself in this way. If you make sure that you’re not too near one of these hideous cell phone towers. And some people have had children with such terrible epilepsy that they’ve had to move because they’re fitting a dozen times a day next to the tower, but they’re not fitting if they move away from the tower.

Manda: And a lot of the towers were put on schools because the school got a bit of money for putting a mobile phone mast on the school.

Jenny: They were bribed to putting the mast on schools, and it’s making the kids ill. And the wifi in schools is making ADHD and the autistic symptoms of some of these kids so much worse. Some of them are completely crazy in school, and they’re fine when they’re away from the Wi-Fi, and there are protective things you can get to put around your mobile phone. Special gloves if you’re one of the electrosensitive people that can’t even hold the phone. There are Faraday bags you can put it in to completely protect yourself from the effects of this technology. There are hats you can get if you’re sensitive. So you wear these hats and maybe a special protective t shirt if you have to walk past one of the towers. There are numerous ways you can protect yourself, and it’s a little bit of a faff until you get used to it. And then wearing this gear when necessary, putting the phone in a Faraday bag becomes a habit. Just like brushing your teeth is a habit. You know, if you’re two years old, brushing your teeth is a nuisance and a faff, and you make a fuss about it. But you get used to it and we do it automatically now. And it’s the same with all these many methods of protecting ourselves from the mobile phones and the masts. It can be done, but the companies could also make the technology a lot safer if they chose to. They could have used much safer frequencies. I don’t know why they didn’t, but that’s a campaigning issue as well.

Manda: They’d have to admit that the ones they’ve used are not any good, and that would probably leave them liable to very, very big legal implications. You also mentioned in the in the home things you can do to shield your router, paints that you can use if you’re near a mast or you’re just worried. There’s EMF resistant paints, do you want to talk a little bit about those? And then we want to move very swiftly on to the stuff you use in your home that’s killing you.

Jenny: And this of course is in your home as well. So it’s an area of overlap. But certainly there are many companies and I list my three favourites in the book, but there are many companies producing stuff to protect you from EMF’s, including paint. You know, if you’ve got rid of your Wi-Fi router and you’ve made your own home safe, but your next door neighbour’s Wi-Fi is coming through the wall, there is anti Wi-Fi paint that you can get, and it’s not that expensive. You put on a couple of layers. But what I would say is before you buy any of this stuff, buy a meter, an EMF measuring metre.

Manda: Or borrow one, share it with your friends.

Jenny: Yes borrow one, we should share them. And then you know if you’ve got a problem. And if your Wi-Fi is coming in through the neighbour’s wall, put the paint on. Now it is black. So unless you’ve got very avant garde tastes in interior decor, you’ll then want to paint over it. But you can paint over it.

Manda: As long as you paint with paints that aren’t giving you VOCs all the time, volatile organic components. So you’ve got to pick your paint.

Jenny: So organic paint companies are listed in my first book in chapter seven, Staying Alive in Toxic Times.

Manda: I will link to this in the show notes people, so you can buy it.

Jenny: Subtitle A Seasonal Guide to Lifelong Health. Because it’s about living and eating according to the seasons. And there are 3 or 4 really good companies for non-toxic paints. Even the toxic paints are only toxic while they’re fresh. So if you can’t afford or don’t want to use organic safe paints, then just go away and get somebody else to do the painting. Have the windows open, make sure it’s summer, get someone else to do it, and then come back. But yeah, the organic paints are in there.

Manda: Can I ask a question? So then are decorators more at risk of some of the diseases as a result of the nasty stuff in home decoration?

Jenny: Yeah, I’m afraid so. There is a study from New Zealand showing that painters have much higher rate of cancer than the average. But, you know, if they used the organic paints and kept the windows open, they wouldn’t have.

Manda: Okay, so decorate in the summer. Very briefly because we’ve gone way over time, but I think this is so essential for people that we need to keep going. The other things that we use, particularly the cleaning products. We already use white vinegar actually, instead of borax, but lots of other things that people are using. Again, this affects your pets particularly; they’re on the floor that you’ve just washed with stuff that is killing them. They’re getting it on their paws, and then they lick their paws or they lie on the floor and then they clean themselves. There’s a lot we can do to make our homes much safer. Tell us a bit about that.

Jenny: Yes, there is, and that’s chapter seven of the latest book, Getting Healthy in Toxic Times. Terribly lumbering subtitle: An Ecological Doctor’s Prescription for Healing Your Body and the Planet. And I won’t say too much about chapter seven because it’s a bit listy, but it’s all in there and it’s laid out really clearly and it goes through each room in your house. So the kitchen: check what’s in the cupboard under your sink, because a lot of it is toxic and unnecessary. And I list safe, healthy, green replacement substances for every cleaning chemical that’s in the cupboard under your kitchen sink. And then the bathroom cabinets, these personal care products which I’ve taken to calling personal scare products: the moisturiser, the shampoo, the makeup, the deodorant, the antiperspirant, all this. Personally, I think we don’t need most of it. I think water cleans most things, but you can get really safe shampoo. You can get completely safe soap from places like Suma. You can get herbal replacements for perfume, which is basically natural essential oils made from flowers, you know, lavender or jasmine or geranium or orange flower, frankincense. And this is what perfume used to be until a couple of years ago. Simply, flower essences.

Manda: Doesn’t involve killing sperm whales either, which is a good thing.

Jenny: Yes, so better for you, better for the planet. Now, some people have said to me but those nice essential oils, they smell lovely but they don’t last all day. Well, indeed they don’t. Because they’re natural, your body’s enzymes will immediately biodegrade them. So put some more on if you want to smell nice. But you know, if you wash regularly, you don’t actually need deodorant. And if you’re stopping yourself from sweating, you’re stopping yourself from detoxing. So it’s a really bad idea. And some secondary schools insist on deodorants in the sports changing room. And the sprayed ones, of course, are even worse than the roll ons.

Manda: Because you’re inhaling it as well.

Jenny: Everyone’s inhaling it as well. They’ve got aluminium in which is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and in breast cancer. They’ve got parabens, which is a petrochemical and carcinogenic; completely unnecessary. I think we can use alternative deodorants and I’ve named a couple of herbal ones in the book, but I think actually we need to re acclimatise to the smell of fresh, healthy human sweat. It only smells bad if it’s old, which means you haven’t washed, or it’s the sweat of fear.

Manda: Are you’re wearing plastic clothing, it changes the nature of it.

Jenny: Exactly. You wear cotton and you know, the smell of healthy exercise and being out in the sun, and you can wash twice a day. I think we need to let go of it, because these antiperspirants are really lethal for the kids and for all of us. And air fresheners are the worst. I mean I once cured somebody’s migraines simply by getting them to stop using air fresheners. And ecological medicine isn’t usually that simple, it’s usually a lot harder work than that. But yeah, the air fresheners are really nasty. And also, why does the air in your house need freshening?

Manda: Why do you want to smell chemicals all day? Yes.

Jenny: Open the windows and empty the bins. And if you’ve got the windows open, what’s going out of the windows is mould spores, because mould is endemic in this country, especially in the autumn. And what’s also going out is the chemicals that outgas from synthetic soft furnishings. So if you’ve got synthetic mattresses, sofas, carpets, cushions and curtains and so on, for the first year or two, they do out gas the toxic chemicals in them, which include PBBs, polybrominated, biphenyls. Now here, the bromine in polybrominated biphenyls, it’s a toxic halogen like chlorine and fluoride, pushes iodine out of your thyroid gland. So don’t panic, because if your furniture is more than a year or two old, it has stopped outgassing. If you’ve bought something new, keep the windows open for a year or two. And if you’re buying something new, particularly a mattress, try and get an organic one. It’s crucial for babies, but it’s crucial for all of us. And I’ve got a jolly good list in chapter seven of the new book of where you can get safe, non-toxic, soft furnishings and bedding and linen and everything for your home. So, you know, 90% of the pollution we encounter is in our homes because we spend 90% of our time in there, and you can change virtually all of it. If you’re living in a block of flats and the person underneath you is smoking cigarettes, that’s a problem I can’t solve. But 90% of indoor pollution we can get rid of and we’ll feel healthier and happier. And our kids will be calmer.

Manda: Brilliant. Yes. Our IQs will go up. We’ll not have the Alzheimer’s. All of those things. It’s really astonishing your book and yet, as you said, there’s answers. It is very sad that a lot of the answers involve spending money; that’s the nature of the predatory capital death cult at the moment. But it also is the case that those of us who can afford to eat organically, to filter our water, to not buy water in plastic bottles, to try and get water some way that isn’t promoting fluoride and chlorine in the water. I live in one of those areas where the water company puts both in, so we don’t even drink the water out of the taps, we get it from a spring. But, you know, that’s incredibly fortunate. But the more of us who have the capacity to abstract ourselves from the actual death part of the predatory capital death cult, the less it will be sustained. It requires us to keep investing in it.

Jenny: And what everyone can do, no matter their income, is to get a few seeds and sprout them on their window ledge. In soil or in water, you can grow your own organic salad year round. It costs virtually nothing, covers the hungry gap in May and June, and there’s not enough fresh vegetables. And that is your healthful, organic garden. Yeah.

Manda: Yes. And you can compost your compost your waste and then grow in your own compost. We’ve discussed this on our different podcast. And you can grow your own beans. Kids love it. You plant a bean and you get beans out, it’s amazing! You can grow your own garlic. There’s so much that you can grow just on your window ledges.

Jenny: Even in a flat, even on your window ledge. Yes you can.

Manda: Yeah. And then as we were discussing before we started, you know, there are allotments. And the more people that want allotments, the more people that make them. When Stroud had the the whole flatpack democracy thing, one of the things they did was look at the length of the waiting list for the allotments, and the council bought a field and turn it into allotments, and the allotment waiting list vanished overnight. And people with allotments almost always grow more food than their entire family could possibly eat. So there are ways around this. It’s possible.

Jenny: And also, if you’re busy and that feels overwhelming, then get half an allotment and give the other half to a friend. We can share allotments.

Manda: Yeah, or elderly people who often have big back gardens because they were young enough to buy houses that had gardens, when houses with gardens didn’t cost more than you could possibly afford, you can find people who want to grow stuff on your garden. You get some of the food, they get some of the food. And there are whole websites devoted to helping people share that.

Jenny: That’s a way to subvert the system, sharing.

Manda: And become a locavore. That’s also in your book. Jenny, there’s so much in this book. I mean, honestly, if people don’t want to rush out and buy it having listened to this, then they’re really not paying attention. There is so much more, people. We have literally skimmed I would think maybe 1 or 2% of what’s actually in there. It’s all completely fascinating. Jenny’s writing style is so fluid it reads like a thriller, really, the sections of this book. I was going to say it’s easy reading, but it’s not easy reading because it’s really scary. And part of my brain recoils from it because life would be much easier if this were not happening. But this is the reality of the world that we live in. And the thing that we said at the beginning is it’s killing us and it’s killing the planet. And stopping this is integral to us shifting to a new system. So I’m so grateful that you’ve had the courage and the capacity to write this book, because it feels really authentic. These are diseases that we’re seeing. This greenwash is not working because I, Jenny, the doctor, can tell you what’s actually happening. And that’s really important, I think. It gives it genuine, grounded veracity in a way that I can talk about stuff and it sounds like I’m conspiracy theorising, and you talk about it and you’ve met the people. There are a lot of case studies in this book that I think are really moving and also really inspiring, because change things and people improve.

Jenny: And people get better. There are solutions.

Manda: So I will link to where we can buy this book and your previous one. Do you want to tell us anything else about where people can find you or get to see you or anything else that would be useful?

Jenny: Right, well, my website is https://www.drjennygoodman.com/.

Manda: I’ll link to that in the show notes.

Jenny: On the website you can find all four handles, I think they’re called, to my social media channels. I’m very low tech, I have to confess. I’ve got somebody helping me with this because I don’t possess a smartphone, but the person who’s helping me with it does. So there’s Instagram, LinkedIn, and a little bit on Facebook and Stroke X. And I don’t have those handles in my head, but I believe they’re on the website. What will also be on the website shortly is my list of speaking gigs. There’s loads and loads of events coming up between now and the end of October, although mercifully none in August, so hopefully I’ll have a break. And that will be on the website soon, I hope. But certainly the list is on Instagram and is on LinkedIn and the other social media channels, so you can find it there. But hopefully it’ll be on the website very shortly as well.

Manda: Super. Right. And I will put links to all of these, to the social media, to your website, to anything that I can find. There will be links in the show notes for people.

Jenny: I should do a shout out to the publishers.

Manda: Yes. Chelsea green.

Jenny: Chelsea Green have supported me to write this book and they have not censored me. And I honestly think any other publisher would have censored this book.

Manda: Right. Well done. Because yes, I can imagine. There’s a lot in here that I hadn’t read before and that has certainly changed my thinking on areas that I thought I was quite well versed in. So thank you to Chelsea Green for having the courage to put this out. Brilliant. And yeah, I’ll put a link to Chelsea Green because they publish a lot of really, really interesting stuff.

Jenny: And thank you, Manda for the conversation. It’s been great talking to you.

Manda: It’s been fun, hasn’t it? Yeah, we might do this again sometime if we get the space and the time, but that was pretty comprehensive. And people it’s been longer than usual, but that’s okay because you needed to hear all this. So Jenny, thank you for coming on to the Accidental Gods podcast. I hope your book sells by the zillion.

Jenny: Thank you very much. Lovely to talk to you. Bye

Manda: Thank you.

Manda: And there we go. That’s it for another week. Huge thanks to Jenny for the amount of time that she put in to researching this, for bringing it all together, for having the intellectual breadth and depth to go so far towards the roots of what’s happening, and being able to think of ways that we can change it. 20 years practising as an ecological doctor has clearly given her quite a unique view on the world. Although she’s no longer practising, but there are other ecological doctors and if you feel this is a way you want to go, there are resources on Jenny’s website which is in the show notes accidentalgods.life. Go to the podcast page or whatever is your favourite podcast provider. The key thing though, I really recommend that you read Jenny’s book. There is so much there that we didn’t get a chance to go into, and it’s an absolute cornucopia of resources. Everything that she says, she’s looked into what we can do to make things different. She’s worked out what works, what filters work, what toothpaste is good, what you can use to clean your home so you’re not spraying toxins all around it. And then she links to other websites.

Manda: So there are links in the show notes for where to buy the book. And as I said at the top, pre-orders are a really good thing. But if you’re listening to this after the 11th of July, it’s going to be available pretty much everywhere. Go out and get it. And then insofar as you can, don’t eat or drink or breathe or wash in or expose yourself to the whole cocktail of stuff that our current culture has created. It doesn’t have to be like this. This is what thrutopian writing is about. This is what this podcast is about: getting together, pulling away from the current system. Just don’t give it any more money. Do whatever you can to shift your buying power. The votes that your pound notes or your dollars, or your euros or your yen or whatever it is that you got your units of currency, just put them somewhere that is not going back into the system. Keep them as local as humanly possible, and simplify your life. I realise this involves some change in trajectory for quite a lot of us, for all of us in some ways. But this is what we have to do. The old system is crumbling.

Manda: We are trying to build the new one from the ashes, and if we can do so by keeping ourselves and our children healthier, surely that has to be a good thing. So there we go people. Head off out and buy Jenny’s book and let’s see if we can change the world. One meal, one glass of water, one breath of air at a time.

Manda: And that apart, we will be back next week with another conversation. In the meantime, thanks to Caro C for the music at the head and Foot. To Alan Lowles of Airtight Studios for the production. To Anne Thomas for the transcripts. To Lou Mayor for wrestling with the video. To Faith for a lot of very interesting conversations this week and for wrestling the type behind the scenes. And as ever, an enormous thanks to you for being there, for caring, for getting it, for helping to shift the dial towards a future that we would be proud to leave behind. And if you know of anybody else who cares about their health and the health of our living planet, then please do send them this link. And that’s it for now. See you next week. Thank you and goodbye.

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