The Vegetable Detective
A molecular biologist is finding what could be dangerous levels of heavy metals in plants like kale, often called the “queen” of the vegetable kingdom. And they’ve shown up the most in organic varieties.
By Todd Oppenheimer
Photography by Claire Bloomberg
When Ernie Hubbard started getting clients with model diets complaining of issues such as fatigue and hair loss, he was stunned, and confounded. Then he noticed a pattern in the vegetables they were eating.
Ernie Hubbard sees a very self-selecting group of patients and clients—“health fanatics,” he calls them—people who eat extremely well by current standards, exercise regularly, generally don’t smoke, do drugs, or drink to excess. In today’s world, however, especially in health-conscious Marin County, California, where Hubbard lives and works, these are the people increasingly showing up in doctors’ offices complaining of persistent but elusive problems: Chronic fatigue. Skin and hair issues. Arrhythmias and other neurological disorders. Foggy thinking. Gluten sensitivity and other digestive troubles. Sometimes even the possibility of Lyme Disease.
At one point, Hubbard got an opportunity to look more closely at what might be bothering some of these people. In 2010, a Cleveland company was developing a detoxification formula, called ZNatural. And its officers asked Hubbard and his colleagues at Preventive Medical Center of Marin, an alternative health clinic, if they would test the product.
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Materials: Plants, Soil
Masters: Ernie Hubbard: Vegetable Detective