Last week I was lucky enough to attend a training conference in Orlando.  It was a wonderful change from the below-freezing temperatures we have endured in Ohio for the past month! I took with me to read on the plane, a book I've had sitting on my coffee table for months, but hadn't gotten around to reading yet. Shocking, funny, infuriating, and above all, eye-opening, The Omnivore's Dilemma, by best-selling author (and truly excellent writer) Michael Pollan, exposes things about your food you never knew - and once you know them, you'll never look at food the same way.

I didn't expect the book to be so engaging, and my alternate horrified gasps, frustrated sighs, and surprised laughter drew several odd looks from my fellow passengers. Not the least of which was my young seatmate and co-worker, who asked with interest what the book was about. I explained briefly, but then shared a few examples of what I was learning, after the last of which, she replied - "Never mind - don't tell me any more - I don't want to know!" When I replied, but "knowledge is power," my ever-quick-witted protege countered with "ignorance is bliss."

Witty though her response may have been, this sort of thinking frustrates me to no end, and I encounter it everywhere! Somehow we humans seem to have evolved away from our natural inclination to learn what is bad for us so we can avoid it, and into some strange ostrich-like mindset that, "what we don't know can't hurt us." When it comes to food and what we put into our bodies every day, nothing could be further from the truth!

Knowledge is our most powerful tool for health, and it shocks and saddens me to see how many people close their eyes against the truth, as if that makes it disappear.  We have only to look around us to see how untrue this line of thinking is. Look at our population of obese, diabetic, sickly, weak, pain- and disease-riddled people, and you can't help but see that something is very, very wrong!

But not only do we not seem to see it, we don't seem to care, or want to find out why. We just pop another pill, or buy another piece of exercise equipment (which inevitably ends up collecting dust in the basement), and moan to our friends about how we can never seem to lose weight, and are tired all the time.  Or we get diabetes, high blood pressure, or cancer, and ask "why me"??

Why indeed? The answer is incredibly simple. Because we close our eyes to the truth. Because we leave the ultimately important (at least in this earthly life) matter of our health up to someone else. Because when someone tries to tell us something, or help us learn something, or share something with us that could potentially improve our health - either now or in the future - we say, "I'd rather not know what's in my hamburger."

Because, as I saw recently - and very appropriately - posted on a school bulletin board (thanks for that, by the way, Marysville High School!), "With knowledge comes responsibility." And heaven forbid we have to take responsibility for anything! (Okay, sorry for the bit of a rant there....) :-)

But honestly, it makes NO sense! Just because you don't know what's in your food doesn't mean it isn't there! Just because you don't want to know about it doesn't mean it's not killing you. Because it is. It is killing us in lots of ways - some slow, some fast, and none very pleasant. Our youth now have the dubious distinction of most likely having a shorter lifespan than their parents - for the first time in history. And unless some major change in our cultural mindset happens soon, their children will probably live shorter (and sicker) lives than they do.

It's time for us to wake up and open our eyes to the truth of what is really going on with our food supply, and our health in general. And the way that we do that is to educate ourselves. It's not hard - we just need to take the time to read and learn a bit about our food, and our bodies, and how they work together. Learn a little about where your food comes from. Learn what is getting put into it before it gets to your table. (Maybe even learn how to grow some of your own??) 
As I mentioned a few months ago, your health is up to you, and a big part of that (maybe the biggest part) starts with the food you put into your body. So don't bury your head in the sand - stand up and take notice - and then stand up for your own health. No one else will.

I will share some tidbits and gleanings from The Omnivore's Dilemma in a future post, but in the meantime I highly encourage you to check it out yourself. You can find it in your local library, as well as in bookstores and on Amazon.com.

 


Comments

02/18/2015 7:30am

Well this is really a informative post and I am glad to read such a great post, i am going to read all of your posts. Great article thanks.

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09/01/2015 2:29am

There was one a saying “what you eat, you become.” I wonder whether that rings true in a society like ours which is biased and encouraged fastfood offerings. I keep reminding myself that I need to eat healthy food even if my schedule at school is rather tight because exams weeks are just around the corner.

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