While traveling, literally, through most of the world, especially notoriously impoverished South-East Asia and a year’s sting in India a noticed a few things: no allergies, no asthma, better overall skin, less “stomach” issues (like Krohn’s disease, IBS) and far far less ‘dermatological’ disorders and irritations like you see in the first world, especially the US. I asked myself “why is that?” Sure, genetics are involved and for South East Asia certainly a lean diet of mainly vegetables, albeit there is nothing lean about the food in India—so it was that completely.
Then I read a paper called “The Hygiene Paradox” and all of a sudden I think I understood. You can find a line to it here, but in short, it hypothesizes that as nations became wealthier and “cleaner” by means of mostly chemical-based soaps, we not only killed off the bad germs and bugs living amongst us, but we also wiped out the good ones; those that we had, over the course of millions of years of human history, developed a symbiotic relationship with. In other words, we threw the baby out with the bathwater—literally! Read more about it here.
There is a whole lot of chemistry in a bottle of shampoo or a bar of soap than is necessary—and that means that not only does it have a harsher effect on your skin and body, but they also leave many trace elements of chemicals whole interaction with humans spans only a couple of generations. What’s more, is our internal chemistry too is changing and hence our battle, especially in the US (where food itself comes loaded with chemicals, hormones, corn-syrup, stabilizers, artificial colors and flavours) we struggle with a multitude of gastro-intestinal issues unheard of in most of the world, especially the third world.
But before I recommend treating IBS, Khron’s, sclerosis, asthma, or allergies with hookworms (see here) the gentleman can start by taking a good hard look at the ingredient list of almost everything he consumes. Think about it: if half ingredients in your favorite snack or breakfast cereal cannot be found in nature (corn syrup, albeit “natural” is processed via a heavily industrialized method) then do you really want to eat it? Do you really want to put it in your body? If a soap or shampoo has several paragraphs worth of ingredients to which you struggle to pronounce your way to the first quarter of the way down, do you want to spread it all over your body? Probably not is my guess neither do you.
In the next several weeks the TGG staff will be beringin to Gentlemen everywhere the leading tips, products and people helping the Modern Gentleman lead a balanced and natural life; without having to eat flax-seed, do yoga, and hug a tree– just good old fashioned hand-crafted products made the world-over that are made by age-old methods and traditions (not that there’s anything wrong with flax-seed, yoga and tree hugging of course).