Are We Healthy? 

 

The effect of food on our health cannot be overestimated. While many other environmental factors may hurt us, and they often do, it seems to be that only food can help us stay healthy, keep our defences up and, hopefully, restore health of those who suffer from many forms of chronic illness. After all, we are what we eat.

Health is not just the absence or lack of a diagnosis of an acute or chronic disease. It is the state of optimal functioning of our bodies when we have abundant energy and, as the saying goes, are “feeling like a million dollars”. How many of us may say that we do now, or even remember, feeling truly healthy? Not health but lack of it has become the norm and we now even cannot notice what we are missing. 

The question is, with whom we trust our health, whose guidance do we follow when accepting specific diets as being health promoting? Should we trust those who promote and offer us highly processed industrial foods? That means having a diet to which people have been fully exposed only in this generation and which beginnings are not older than two or possibly three generations? Did this diet have a generational chance to prove whether it is healthy or even acceptable for us? Or should we look for guidance in principles that helped people of many different food cultures around the world stay healthy over many generations? Does the state of the overall health of whole Western nations speak in favour of the diet we are eating now? 

When we look at an animal in the wild or even at our pets or livestock raised in their natural environment, we usually see vibrant health in such animals, particularly when they are young or at play. But we also can recognize and immediately see sickness in animals. We also can easily see if animals are properly developed and see genetic deterioration. (It is important to notice that most of the animals that we can observe have shorter life spans than we do, hence the genetic degeneration is easier to notice.) This is  clearly observable for anyone, not just for experts. Then, why did we lose the ability to see the same signs of lack of health when looking at people? Just do an experiment and observe random people anywhere in public spaces with intention to look for health or for lack of it.  Do you see health and superior genetics or do you see sickness and genetic deterioration? Be honest with yourself. Then, you may ask yourself: in which direction is our general health going, remembering that those you see are people who have been on the industrial food diet for probably a very short generational time. 

The statistics we have been fed about our health are highly misleading if not plainly manipulative. They equate our health with longevity (the longer we statistically live, the healthier we must be), and tell us that we are now expected to live longer than ever before, which implies that we are healthier people. Such statistics are misleading for at least four main reasons.

  1. Child mortality rate has been, indeed, drastically reduced and that makes statistical wonders - just calculate how one person who instead of dying at the age of one lives to be 60 affects longevity statistics. However, that tells nothing about the health of adolescents and adults. 
  2. We may say that rather than living longer, we die longer. There many whose lives linger in all kinds of supportive care facilities, usually with some form of disability put on high dosages of various medications but that, of course, also helps build longevity statistics.
  3. Current longevity statistics often compare our life span with those living in early capitalistic societies where there were many poor, undernourished people, already packed in growing cities. Many people then were truly unhealthy. On the other hand, statistics of many indigenous cultures show shorter life spans due the lives such cultures lived: high in accidents, frequent warfare and cycles of abundance and famine. Yet, their average longevity says nothing about the state of health of such people who, most likely, were very healthy. 
  4. The most important and the least understood fact about current longevity statistics is that people in their 60s to 80s or even 90s who contribute to positive statistics were raised and grew up on totally different food that we consume now. Learning about the emerging science of epigenetics may help understand how important that factor is. Most unfortunately, the children of today eating the diet of highly processed, industrialized foods will not have the same statistical chance to live long lives as their grandparents, who were eating much better food. Not even a close chance. 

One  way to assess the state of our health can be by monitoring the cost and percentage of our public and personal budgets that are spent to address sickness. In the ideal state of a healthy society with the best food possible, that number should be very low. What would such statistics about today show us? In which direction do we want to move as a society? Many experts point out that on the current path the cost of addressing sickness of our population is rising steadily and, if delivering the same services to the same groups of people, will eventually bankrupt the most resilient economies. How does that match the official propaganda that we are getting healthier thanks to the highly advanced “health care” system? Does anyone ask what are the root causes of the state of our deteriorating health of our societies? Does our industrial food have anything to do with it? 

While the Centre can do very little to reverse the trend on a public scale, it may offer support for all those who are willing to do something for their personal health. It can also help create public awareness of the true root causes of public health and create ambassadors of the cause for change. Each one of us has the power to do something about our food, which is the fundament on which our health is built. Sure, it will take  time, money and effort to learn and then to procure and prepare food for one's self and for the family. The alternative is to continue trusting those who made food what it is today, to continue using the convenient shopping channels offering industrial foods and then to seek the help of doctors and other health practitioners. We are free to set our priorities and make our own decisions but, unfortunately, we are not free to choose consequences of such decisions, particularly when it comes to our health.