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Think about it…
If you are a living and breathing person, you are nothing but a colony of specified cells that themselves, are living and breathing. Sure, there’s that little old thing called a soul but that’s another topic for another blog.
I have spent the better part of the last decade with one foot in mainstream medicine and the other in the study of traditional health systems. Still, with as much study and practice as I have committed to the pursuit of health, I find myself at a loss when people ask me about diet; not for lack of knowledge on the part of either party but simply because we are seldom even speaking the same language.
When it comes to making food choices, it seems American public is fixated on just a handful of parameters; Calories, fat, carbohydrates, taste and cost. It’s no wonder we talk about food in such myopic terms. Watch enough daytime television and you will see doctor after dietician after celebrity trainer giving a nutrition sermon using this language of dietary dogma. They’ve got us focused on the minutia so we never stop to think about what real food is and why we eat what we do.
Dr. Catherine Shanahan deems this language, foodspeak (a play on Orwellian newspeak). She describes how and why we willingly abandoned our cultural relationship with food in her book Deep Nutrition. Dr. Cate makes the case for reverting to a more traditional language about food for the benefit of our health as well as that of future generations.
Like everything else, foodspeak has to meet the requirements of a sound bite culture and is limited to grunting imperatives such as “eat your veggies,” “watch your carbs,” and “avoid saturated fat.” Having lost the old ways of talking about food, we’ve also lost the physiologic prosperity that once endowed us with the gift of perfectly proportionate growth.
Catherine Shanahan M.D.
Food, as our ancestors understood it, was a most sacred gift. Be it from a deity or the plant/animal itself, that which was consumed as food was seen as pure life to be incorporated in to the person. This type of “new age” (ironic) language that our ancestors used does not lend itself to our overly cerebral health authorities today. In fact, scratch the word, “today”. This concept of food didn’t lend itself to the health authorities of last century. Why not? Well because it is only in the last half century or so that food production has become so consolidated in to a few corporate interests. As Dr. Cate says, foodspeak had to be invented so that they could fit the message in to an ad. Since industry drives research, it was only a matter of time before the medical schools were chock full of studies and statistics that cast these new “processed foodstuffs” in a good light. Ever since then, they have been coming out with new research that seemingly contradicts itself as time goes by. This constant supply of novel dietary advice is no failure of science. It is intentional. As the saying goes, “keep them rowing so they don’t have time to rock the boat.”
What we need now is the mind of a child.
This little girl is smarter than most people at the USDA. In fact, I’d go so far as to say she is more wise than even the top health and medical authorities in the nation in reaching the conclusions she did from her experiment. How can this be you ask? Because she possess the mind of a child that is immune to analysis paralysis and is able to use common sense.
Gary Zukav calls this “a beginners mind“. In his 1984 classic, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, Zukav reveals how “the new physics” (Quantum Mechanics) was discovered by forgetting what we think we know of the world, and accepting what we observe as the truth. He notes that Einsteins genius had minimally to do with his brain power and more to do with his ability to see possible alternative explanations that his contemporaries didn’t. When we discuss diet and nutrition with our respected health authorities it is almost as if they are intentionally diverting our attention to calories and fat content while we yearn to cry out, “the farmer is naked.”
A scientist should accept reality as he sees it, even if that lands him in contradiction and nonsense; a scientist must have a beginner’s mind…. a childlike ability to see the world as it is, and not as it appears according to what we know about it.
Organic? But studies show “no health benefits” to organic food
We intuitively know that organic food (formerly known as food) is what we should be eating. There are many forces that keep us from bringing organic food to our family dinner table. For some it is cost. Others don’t like the shorter shelf life of organic food. Perhaps the largest reason these unadulterated genetic information packets don’t make it to our homes is because we haven’t been convinced it is worth it.
We are a society that is rarely convinced of anything unless we can either see it with our own eyes, or we see enough studies to prove it. The problem with the issue of organic food is that no study is possible to show the benefits. The only tests the FDA runs on our food is to see if it will cause you to keel over and die after consuming (see GRAS laws). To add to the problem, headlines like this make for a great story because it goes against common sense.
The reason the debate about organic still exists is twofold. The harm of industrialized food is only seen in the chronic degradation of health throughout the course of ones life as well as throughout the generations. Also, the benefits of organic are not measured in the short-term outcomes our current food regulatory system is monitoring. It all comes down to how you define health and sickness. If you are merely looking for acute infections and quick-onset disabilities, you could pretty much eat anything non-toxic and it would pass the GRAS standards of the FDA.
It is impossible to expect to create a healthy, vibrant individual from dead food. There must be life in your food. Every bit of processing and every additive is for the expressed intent of rendering the food undesirable to microorganisms that may want to eat it before you do. If they won’t eat it, why would you?