The fact that Time magazine's Feb. 23 issue carries a big article titled "Why Food Could Be the Best Medicine of All" as if it's a major new discovery has me vacillating between celebration and depression.
It quotes doctors and health professionals talking about the health-food connection as if it's something brand new. Here is one paragraph:
They’re also encouraged by the growing body of research that supports the idea that when people eat well, they stay healthier and are more likely to control chronic diseases and perhaps even avoid them altogether. “When you prioritize food and teach people how to prepare healthy meals, lo and behold, it can end up being more impactful than medications themselves,” says Dr. Jaewon Ryu, interim president and CEO of Geisinger. “That’s a big win.”
Where have these people been? Our tribe has been preaching this for decades and this is just now news for the greater population. It shows how far we have to go yet. So yes, I celebrate this understanding and new awareness. When McDonald's goes bankrupt, we'll know the tipping point has arrived.
Hospitals are now teaming up with farmers' markets and federal assistance programs to coordinate this new direction. The data in the article are wonderful: reduced heart disease, reduced blood sugar levels. In fact, they are downright profound.
The lead testimony in the article pointed out that had these programs not rescued him, he'd probably "still be on the couch eating Oreos." My question is what is it about our society that blesses eating Oreos? Do people who eat junk food as a routine thing really not know any better?
What made some of us choose to avoid those things in the 1950s when the junk food industry really took off? Perhaps the question of the day is why some people mistrusted squeezable cheese and TV dinners early and why others come to the truth so late. Sometimes too late.
Everyone who can read has access to information. Our family read information that made us believe one thing. Other people either didn't read that information or didn't believe that information. It's not like Oreos held a gun to society's head and held it hostage. Why does one person read one thing and another something else?
It's kind of like the Israelites during the times of the kings in the Old Testament. When discussing sinful times, half the time the Bible said the king made the people sin worse than ever, and half the time it says the people made the king sin worse than ever.
These conundrums don't have easy answers. Probably a host of things affect why one person accesses certain information and another does not. Or why one person believes certain bits of information and another disregards it. Upbringing, peer pressure, interests.
One thing that's politically incorrect to suggest, so I'll suggest it, is that we do not encourage discovery. We encourage compliance. We are not the first culture, of course, to have this malady; I think it's part of the human condition. But recognizing our weakness of discovery is the first step to rectifying it. We prefer being victims to taking responsibility. What we discover is part of our responsibility. Nobody can make the discoveries I need to make for myself; only I can make those.
Have you discovered something in the last year that shook your assumptions?