I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how there is such a direct relationship between the food we eat, the products we use on and in our bodies, and our health. Yesterday I read an article that says that little girls are hitting puberty at a much earlier age now than 20 years ago. Medical “experts” claim that early puberty may be brought on by increasing levels of obesity…well duh! They don’t take that claim to the next logical step, there are increasing levels of obesity because we are feeding our kids (and ourselves) WAY more food than we need to function! Add to that all the junk like growth hormones (hello early puberty!!!), antibiotics, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and reproductive enhancers (hello early pubert again!!!) and god knows what else they put into the animals and spray on the crops, and is it any bloody wonder we are fat, unhealthy and suffereing/dying of chronic, albeit preventable diseases?!?!?! Unless you are fortunate enough to be able to grow your own food (produce and/or animal), you have to buy what companies sell to you as “food”. Ever read the labels on some of that food? Most of that stuff doesn’t grow in the ground or on a tree, it is grown in a test tube or manufactured by chemically processing it to look and taste (somewhat anyway) like food. Take the tomatoes you buy at your local farmer’s market or maybe your own garden in late summer, they are red, juicy, ripe and full of flavor. Compare that to the tomatoes you buy from Mexico or Chile in the winter, which are red, but they are actually green when they are picked and then they are “ripened” to their red color with ethylene gas in the truck during shipping. Yuck! And they taste so…bland. but if they were picked when they were red, they would rot before they arrived here…Western culture has become so used to having what we want when we want it, even if it goes against Mother Nature, even if it hurts us.
Look at cosmetics, another example. Ever read the label on your favorite lipstick, foundation, skin cream? Not many of those ingredients come from nature either. Most of these things have not even been tested for safety!!! Like it or not, we have become walking, talking lab rats. We eat crap, we put crap on our bodies, and we feed the same crap to our kids and use different, but just as toxic, kids-marketed crap on our children’s bodies. Then we sit around wondering why there is so much illness and disease now and how this is the first generation who may have a shorter life expectancy than the generations before us, and why 70% of our kids are overweight or even obese…Why do we do this to ourselves? Because we are lazy? Maybe. Because we are stupid? In a few cases, but gnenerally, no, we are extremely educated nowadays, or consider ourselves to be anyway. Because the good stuff is more costly? Yes, it is, and that is because the crap is subsidized, so it can be made in greater quantities to meet the ever growing demand, so it is cheaper in the short run. But then look at our ballooning health care costs, and ask yourself, is it easier to spend a few extra dollars now each week on quality, organic products, or will it be easier 20 years from now when you have to shell out $500/month on medications to manage your blood pressure, cholesterol, arthritis, diabetes, etc? Or heaven forbid, pay thousands of dollars (especially if you live in a country with no universal health care plan) for heart surgery or chemotherapy? Is there a way out of this nightmare? I believe there is.
We need to shift the balance. Right now, our culture is creating demand for this crap, all of it. From the food we eat to the soaps we buy, to the clothing and toys we buy for our kids, every dollar we spend tells industry what they should make more of. So if you do most of your shopping at Walmart or Target or some other large chain store, buy all your food from a big chain supermarket and or/fast food restaurants, you are basically saying you want cheap, fast and poor quality products and don’t care much about quality, nutrition or durability, and these companies are happy to oblige. However, if you buy locally, from smaller, entrepreneurial or family-owned businesses, buy seasonally at local farmer’s markets, you are saying you are a much more thoughtful and discerning consumer, you care a great deal about quality, sustainability and durability, you are eco-conscious and focused on good nutrition and well-being. See what a different message this sends? Now imagine if everyone shopped the same way. See what a different picture that would paint? Small businesses would thrive, everyone would get what they need, we’d be much less wasteful and have much greater health. So don’t wait around for the corporations or the government to change things, they take their cues from us, the people with the money. Money is what makes the world go round, and you can use yours like a tool to tell industries what they should be focusing on. You buy good food, you have good health (opposite of garbage in, garbage out). You buy from local, small businesses, you teach the big corporations a lesson, that you don’t want their cheap, disposable crap anymore and they no longer have as much control over what reaches the store shelves. You, me, WE, together, we can change the world! Get your family and friends to think about their spending habits, and what message they want to send to the food industry, the cosmetics industry, the textile industry, the oil industry, etc. Better yet, what message do they want to send their children and grandchildren? For our decisions today not only affect their immediate environment (ex. my kids know the difference between organic and non-organic and are happy to educate their friends who don’t), but it also will determine what is available to them when they reach adulthood.
I did not mean for this post to run so long, but as you can tell I feel quite passionate about this topic. I guess I want the takeway from all this to be:
#1: become conscious and aware of what you buy, where it comes from, and why you bought it
#2: shift your spending from big box stores and chains to more local, smaller and family-owned businesses/farms, artisans, and craftspeople. You will appreciate the quality you are getting, and they will appreciate your business more than any Walmart or Safeway will.
#3: if you cannot grow your own food (neither can I at the moment) then find your local farmers and or farmer’s markets, and buy your fruit/veggies from them, you will get the freshest, most delicious tasting and nutrient-rich foods at their peak, when they are in season, not shipped from thousands of miles away and artificially ripened during shipping.
#4: get your family and friends to start with #1
#5: be sure to share these tips with your children when they are old enough, I do so with my 8 year old son and he is so much more conscious and aware of where good food comes from and appreciates its value more
Here are a couple really great sites to check out related to this topic:
Ok, that’s all for today! Have a wonderful week all!