Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14 2012: How important is food? Try not eating and find out.

We may find in the long run that tinned food is a deadlier weapon than the machine-gun.

George Orwell

It is hard not to notice how often some plant we take for granted—such as spinach—turns out to have extraordinary medicinal properties (if one ignores the pesticides and herbicides we use to such excess, and with such abandon). I put forward spinach as an example—not because I have an inside track on its enhancing properties. So restrain that desire to corner the spinach market.

Over time—and it has taken me much longer than it should have—this has led me to the view that food is much more important than we give it credit for—and that we are almost certainly poisoning ourselves on a massive scale. Here, I am not referring to cyanide-type poisoning (where you get a satisfying near-instant death) but more a long, slow degradation of the quality of our lives which manifests itself as some kind of chronic condition (cancer, autism, an intestinal disorder—pick your ailment). “Slow poisoning” isn’t quite the right descriptive phrase to use (and besides Lucretia Borgia has virtually hogged it) so the term I have adopted is “lifestyle poisoning”—but the field is open.

But our longevity is increasing, I hear you say.

Well, that may be true overall—but it is heavily dependent on  income, race, and other social factors—so if you look at the figures in detail, they are a lot less reassuring. Secondly, we appear to be living longer sicker. Thirdly, our Canadian neighbors and the citizens of most other developed nations outlive us by two to three years. Multiply that by our population of roughly 316 million—and that adds up to roughly a billion years of human potential lost. That’s nearly a shocking enough figure to attract Congressional attention (though maybe not).

Food is confusing stuff because even while it is poisoning us, it is also keeping us alive. For instance, I managed to injure myself three months ago and didn’t seem to be recovering as fast as expected. Well, the body takes time to heal if grossly abused—but it was more than that—I was lacking energy. However, I was trying to recover while on rather a rigid diet which I had not modified after I was injured.

Two friends and an e-mail from the estimable Dr. Mercola identified the issue with ease—I wasn’t eating enough protein. I had overdone the vegetarian thing. A couple of helpings of dead cow and I was chipper again.

Why had I cut back on eggs, meat and fish? I have no idea. I can only plead that I must have struck my head in the fall.

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