Lately I’ve been doing a lot of reading and research regarding our health, diets and how our choices influence it all. It’s been fascinating to learn so much more about our society, but when I read claims that our agriculture methods are creating problems, I tend to raise my eyebrows a little bit.
Now, don’t get me wrong…I completely agree that cropping methods and systems have changed in the last few centuries. But shouldn’t we expect them to? I know of no other industry where people criticize innovation so blatantly. But again, that’s their right.
Here is my unofficial synopsis of all the reading I have done: Perhaps it’s not only the crops that have changed, but our expectations of health. Our quest in life is to “feel good.” If we don’t feel good, we try to figure out why we’re not feeling good…and in doing so, we keep hunting down causes until we find something to blame.
We are a culture of excess. We want to have our cake…and eat it to, even if it has to be gluten free.
People clamor that these are new diseases, new allergies, new problems with digestion. But I wonder, are they really? And I’m not talking about true allergies, the kind that risk your life when in contact with triggers. Or true diseases, the kind that cause bleeding and excruciating pain and life-threatening consequences. I know all about those.
My grandmother would tell me stories about when she was growing up. She had her appendix removed when she was a little girl and it terrified her. She was afraid that what she ate would make her ill, so she was very selective for a little while. Food made her ill, so she cut back on what she ate. Simple as that. She didn’t go to a doctor, she didn’t expect a pill would make her better, she didn’t question her choices, she just limited them. And no one was the wiser.
Now we expect answers. We expect to “feel good” and when we don’t feel good, we expect that there’s a pill, a medicine, a cure, to make us feel better. In general, we do not suffer quietly and self-adjust our diets to make up for it, as our ancestors did. We enroll the help of medical professionals, we make it their job to find out what’s ailing us, and find some way to allow us to continue the same behaviors that made us ill to begin with…it’s mind-boggling truly.
No, I am not convinced that our food has changed so greatly that our bodies are now rejecting it. But I am convinced that our world has changed so greatly, that our expectations are creating problems that our ancestors would have just brushed off with “that didn’t agree with me.”
Looking back through our family history, I am pretty certain that George’s OTC is not new to our family. It just happens to be the first time that it could be diagnosed. And we were blessed when it was discovered…completely by chance. His diet changes are necessary, and life-saving, as is the case for many across the world.
I have no doubt that watching what you eat, being aware of how your body reacts and adjusting your habits as needed is a great tool for everyone to use. But are we taking it too far? Just last night I heard two young girls talking in a store. One was buying gluten-free items, the other replied, “I didn’t know you had celiac?” She quickly said, “Oh, I don’t, I just read that it’s better for you. You know, more natural.” I had my oldest child with me, so I didn’t interrupt, but…ugh.
What will be the next epidemic?
I vote for common sense. How about you?