If I told you that the food you were eating contained star dust, would you believe me?
What if I could prove it?
I can’t travel to a star and bring you back some Kale. But I can explain how the Potassium got in there.
The journey of those potassium atoms likely started billions of years ago. As several hydrogen atoms.
*Edit: To clarify my original message, Potassium and Vitamin K are two separate and distinct nutrients. What I’m referring to as an example in this article is Potassium the mineral.
The Ultimate Nutrient Factory
In chemistry there is a process called fusion. In fusion, atoms are smashed together under tremendous pressure and heat, thus altering the nuclei of the atom.
When protons and neutrons are added to an atom’s nucleus, its atomic weight changes as do many of its properties. The larger the nucleus of an atom, the heavier it becomes. The amount of heat and energy necessary to alter it also increases.
It is the opposite of fission, which is what splits atoms.
This process is what fuels stars. In fact, fusion is what has been fueling our sun for billions and billions of years and will probably continue to do so for billions and billions more.
Now that’s what I call sustainability!
As a star progresses from birth to maturity, the elements that it uses for fuel become heavier and heavier.
This is why young stars burn hydrogen and helium, while older stars may use uranium and plutonium in addition to other elements.
And somewhere in the middle, is something like Potassium which we find in large amounts in Kale and Bananas.
As the elements become heavier, the star goes through cycles of expansion and contraction as its fuel becomes hotter and hotter.
Eventually, that star will explode, sending its dust and the elements it contains throughout the universe.
As planets form, they use much of this star dust material to build themselves. And when you consider that there are billions of billions of stars, that’s a lot of material for planetary formation.
And it is the many elements in this dust that become critical components of many of the organisms that inhabit these planets.
Here on Earth, we humans use many members of the periodic table of elements as building blocks and nutrients. Potassium is just one of them.
Calcium, Iron, Oxygen, Sodium, Chlorine, Zinc, Nickel, Manganese, Silver, Gold, and Magnesium are all just simple elements that were manufactured in the infinitely hot and violently chaotic engines of stars that existed so long ago, we don’t have words to adequately describe just how long ago it really was. But without them, we wouldn’t be here. At least not in our current forms.
Fortunately for us our soil is loaded with a wide variety of colloidal minerals (minerals suspended in water) and trace elements that are vital to our ability to thrive.
The Kale plant that manages to sprout, grow, and soak up these elemental nutrients from the soil is a magnificent alchemical creation that contains elements that were created billions of years ago in places that neither you nor I could even dream of visiting.
At least not while we are incarnated.
In fact all plants are that miraculous.
While at first glance, it just looks to us like a plant, the origin of the material that allows those plants to grow and then become nutrients for us, has a history that is hard to even fathom.
This is just one reason why we are so intrigued and fascinated by plants. They’ve been on the planet far longer than we have. And they’ve been recycling elements that literally come from outer space since they first peeked through the soil to see the sun for the very first time.
When you look up at the stars now, you know that the elements that could support life either here or elsewhere are being created while you watch.
So during your next plant based meal, take a good long look at what you’re eating. It is literally made of star dust. And so are you.