Why give a damn about what you eat?

I went to a screening of the documentary Farmageddon tonight. It was the story of small farmers who have been shut down by the FDA and other government agencies for selling farm foods without official approval. That’s the paraphrase.

 I went with someone who loves food. Not necessarily in the way I love food. He’s more of a gourmand than even I can consider myself to be, because he loves the meats. As he says, he loves all food.

 The stories on the screen disrupted his world view and although we didn’t get into the depths of what that world view was, the idea that he is not considered sovereign in making his own food choices is appalling, infuriating and at the moment, incredibly debilitating to his sense of personal power.

 I felt the same way after the first couple of documentaries and books and college classes I took on the subject of food and regulations and the group of lawmakers who feel they are better suited to make choices on behalf of me and my body than I am.

 And, then, for some reason I still don’t fully understand, I got enraged about the non-sense our small farmer’s face with GMO crop pollution and now, these raids on farming that doesn’t go through the FDA and USDA. I was never a farmer myself. I wasn’t raised on a farm. My mother’s parents DID farm, but they were down to very large gardens by the time I came along.

 It’s food though. We are talking about an essential component to our success on this earth. And yes, there are people who have proven that we can live on a lot less food than we currently consume. There have been people who have demonstrated that we can live on no food and thrive.

 I’m not interested in that. I love food for the pleasure that it is. Food is pleasurable. It brings me joy, quite literally, to walk through produce and be near all that color and texture, and if it’s really vibrant, fragrance. I enjoy buying food, shopping for food.

 I don’t enjoy buying boxes. I’m talking about produce and sometimes fish and eggs and cheese and sometimes cakes and Jeni’s ice cream and arms full of herbs in the summertime and leafy greens that have so much natural flavor that a dedicated ranch dressing groupie will put that shit down and enjoy a deliciously textured, well-prepared salad.

 I am in love with produce. I am in love with the experience of touching plants and preparing my meals. It is an act of reverence to feed this gift of a body we are given. And, there is a difference between store bought and small farm grown. There is a difference between eggs grown in warehouses and eggs grown in the sun chasing bugs. You can start by noticing the difference in color of the yolk.

 And, while I am not super fond of land meat, there is a noticeable difference between the taste of the flesh of an animal who has been squeezed into a box in a meat growing facility and an animal who’s contribution to my diet has been respected enough to be honored with a life in the sun with room to roam.

 I am preparing to lead another group detox at the end of this month. As a health coach we sometimes struggle with our message that we are building our business on. The “Why” of why we are doing this particular work. Many coaches are turned off by the idea of encouraging the “I must lose weight” mantra that, so many citizens of the United States of this country, struggle with. The work that’s being done in this field is powerful because so often it is about bringing people back into a direct experience of themselves.

 My primary “Why” is to empower people. When we understand how to hear our body’s’ talk, its language, stories and messages, then we are far less likely to be easily lead astray by outside forces. Right now, we are so disconnected from our bodies.

 We beat ourselves into submission with calorie and carb restrictions, workout routines that leave us ‘shredded’ in the pursuit of ever changing image of the ideal. We eat low nutrient, high caloric, inherently tasteless foods that are then doctored with chemical flavorings. Because they’re advertised to us at about 10$ billion annually and the base ingredients are subsidized to such and extent that they seem (at first glance) to be more affordable.

 While our bodies are very clearly telling us through allergies, autoimmune disorders and fatigue, depression and chronic lethargy –just to name a few- that what we are putting into and on our bodies is insufficient and even, entirely counter-productive, for our health. But, so many people are still mesmerized by the noise of advertising and cheap prices.

 Consider for a moment the cost of (what we call) health care. The cost of prescriptions. The cost of surgical procedures.

 And, now, consider the cost of your food, in comparison. Our bodies are not merely machines. They/We are living organisms that require a kind of balance that standardized science and medicine (the institutions that our food laws are inadequately being based on- not even getting into corporate entities which is really where the decision making is happening) can only guess at. Our current model of science cannot function in that kind of precision and responsive balancing.  Science depends on homogeneity. This is how ‘prove’ that something is real, or dangerous, or, happening at all.

 And maybe you know some people who never change, even on a minute level of existence. The routine is the routine and they go through life on autopilot. Our bodies can’t check out like our minds can. We are constantly responding to changes in our environment on the subtlest of levels and the food we eat plays a tremendous part in our body’s ability to respond effectively and efficiently to the stimuli.

 So, why do I can to teach people how to eat? Why do I care about what’s happening to the people who grow my food on a small scale?

I teach because I want you to care about what you are putting into your body, how that item impacts the land it was grown on, and the people who tended it for you. I care about what is happening to the small farms and the seeds of the world because this is our freedom and our life.

 Our seeds are being overrun by runaway modified seeds. These GMO seeds are built with a mix of plant and animal genetics. They are designed to die after a crop yield. They are designed with the seller in mind. Not the grower. What happens when we can’t access seeds and we have to buy from a seller? What’s to stop companies from raising the price on seed beyond what you and your farmer can afford?

 What happens when we have so committed ourselves to monoculture that our crops cannot withstand blight or drought? This has happened. This is not a sci-fi scenario. And, if we continue to sit, dispassionately, there will come a time when we really aren’t able to make decisions about what we eat and why. They will be made for us.

 Who’s in control of your body then?


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