These days the human kind knows so much about physiology, anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology and medicine than ever before in our history. In terms of technology use in medicine – so many diseases can now be detected sometimes before any symptoms arise. There are treatments, medications and vaccinations to ailments that were deemed deadly in the past. We live longer. Yet we are the sickest we have ever been. Rates of chronic diseases such as CVD, diabetes, neurodegenerative and obesity are at their peak not only among adults, but in children as well. Healthcare expenditures keep rising creating not only personal burden, but an economic one of national scale as well. How did we get here?
Who to blame?
I see the culprit in our food choices. Not that it is the only reason (others include more sedentary lifestyles, stress, environmental pollution, less labor intensive work), but by far one of the most contributing. Chronic consumption of foods lacking in essential nutrients and abundant in processed ingredients like sugar, white flour, processed fat and flavor enhancers leads to development of chronic disease. Our ancestor did not have access to vending machines at every corner, convenience stores with shelves of soda and chips, candy aisles at pharmacy stores (while waiting for their medication to be prepared) and other easy options with easy foods. They did not drive to most destinations and sit at their desks all day. And it’s not my intention to minimize the benefits of technological progress over the last one hundred years or so – this is more to say that we’ve lost touch with the ways we were meant to operate to live healthy quality lives ever since the introduction of the conveniences. We have become complacent with the way life is. We have assumed the new ways and accepted them without any hesitation and modification. We have learned to rely on technology and food manufacturers to ease our lives for us, meanwhile forgetting that we are not doing any favors to our health and well-being. The equation has become faulty, and the same components do not match the result we desire – we move less, eat worst and as a result we get sick and gain weight.
Many are to blame, but mostly – ourselves. For as long as we keep our heads in the sand and let others make our food choices for us (vending machines, restaurants, grocery stores, etc.) and find excuses not to move in the ways our bodies are designed, we will not overcome our health challenges.
What shall we do?
Instead of suggesting to go back to our roots and practice cavemen living, I am only suggesting to find ways to make changes within current environment. We may not be able to change our life, but we can change the way we go about it. Be it learning to cook healthier foods and start meal-prepping, choosing healthier options at restaurants, bringing more movement into our lives, implementing distressing techniques, etc. The change has to come from within – an intrinsically motivated desire to be healthier. Our bodies are our vehicles, moving us through life; they are our temples with precious contents; vials of life that need to be nourished and replenished to stay alive.