Food for thought. Yes, that is a significant phrase meaning something to think about. But what about taking this literally, as in, the kind of food we ingest influences our thoughts and their processes? Our bodies and their processes? Food thinks and speaks to us, and we respond to the messages that we swallow.
What then, can be made, of the way in which we eat and choose to eat? And what happens to our mind’s potential and capacities when fed on a troubling diet that rarely borders on “natural” or “fresh”? What food we choose to eat reflects our views on ourselves, and everyone and everything that makes up our home. Why, then, is there such a love affair between North Americans (not exclusively, but still primarily) and their junk food?
There is a great deal of research that shows the effects of junk food, time and again, and yet, McDonald’s continues to thrive. It has been shown scientifically that we are not built to process meat or at any rate, not large quantities of it; and yet, factory farms and the meat industry are still booming. And in what I perceived as backlash against greener, more veg central movements, I seem to recall an increase in meaty campaigns a number of years ago, with quippy lines like, “I’m a meatatarian.” We know how poorly we process many processed elements. There are countless documentaries, books, articles, and so much more accessible information than ever before, but still, where are people’s minds in all of this?
The list of troubling facts is not short and includes the effects of: hormones, pesticides, animal cruelty, chemical toxins from plastic, the criminally negligent treatment of employees to the outright killing of people working against giant corporations, cover-ups, and yet, here we are.
What has happened to our human consciousness that we can switch off in such a way to all of these troubles and go about our business?
A very simple example: recently some people I know were speaking of a trip to the U.S. and complaining of junk food we don’t have here in Canada. I paused for a moment, and said, “Well, we don’t really need more junk food choices, do we? I mean, that’s what they have more of, and they also have the highest obesity rate in the world.” I wasn’t trying to be a jerk, which is always a challenge when you start speaking of things which may rock the comfortable boat of general conversation. But the idea of using the word “junk” before food should be indicator enough that it really isn’t fit for consumption. Sure, we don’t die immediately, and it may not be what “gets us in the end” but like smoking, whether we die from it in a clear and immediate way, there is a significant impact on our lives, and there is a wider ripple effect than we seem to realize.
Having said all of these things, and sounding like a hoity toity faloity snob, I must clarify;these observations INCLUDE me. I am guilty of participation in questionable consumption. Unethical/less ethical choices are so ubiquitous that to really avoid the pratfalls, you have to be very alive, alert and cognizant of what you buy, where you buy it, how you eat, and so on and so on. And the vast majority, including myself, just aren’t awake, really truly awake enough of the time.
No matter how much I might talk and think of these things, I have these little black outs…these moments of capitulation, of giving in because I don’t see an immediate way to avoid, let’s say, a plastic wrapped long english cucumber when I want that cucumber. I don’t want to beat myself up eternally for this, but it is a contradiction between thought and deed.
Talking about food so much as I have over the last 17 days, thinking of it in a new/sort of old/yet new light, has brought focus, a spotlight onto my own capabilities when it comes to planning. And something I’ve realized in this process; I am not that great at taking care of myself. I am far more capable and competent when it comes to doing things for people and things outside of myself. And this has had very real consequences on my health. What I learned of bodies were that they were rather filthy, gross, clumsy, and rather evil inconveniences that we would get to be rid of when we floated out of them to our rightful home, heaven.
I see how those past values have a significant effect on me today; what I believe now is at distinct odds with what I was taught actively and passively and years of conditioning don’t just disappear. And this, in my opinion, is not significantly different than the general thought process going on in the minds of other consumers sitting at the plastic tables or at the drive thru windows. Eating well seems too hard for a lot of people and at the heart of it all, we are conditioned to buy into the fact that we aren’t worth it, not the time, not the effort, not the energy that it would take to make ourselves actually feel better and care more.
Change your mind, and you’ll change the world. It is absolutely true. Change your mind and you’ll change your world which will trickle then bubble and flow out into your neighbor’s yard, across your community and ultimately into the world at large. It requires commitment, because the temptations are always calling. And it requires forgiveness, because there will be falling.
(So many more thoughts. Oh so so many, but it is again beyond time for me to wind down and out)