Are We Healthy?

I walk my dog Sophie, every morning. Even though I’m retired I set my alarm and get up at 6:00 a.m. to take her out for exercise. Why, you ask? Why get up so early to take Fido for a stroll? Well, simply put, my dog is an ass when it comes to other dogs. She doesn’t like them, and will try to go after them if she can. I don’t feel like being sued because she wants to fight. So, we get up early because this town is overflowing with dogs. Everyone it seems, has a dog. Or two. But most people don’t get up at 6:00 in the morning to walk them. Besides, it’s a beautiful time of day. Being the coolest part of the day year round, I like it a lot better in the summer. Anyway, Sophie’s disposition is not what this article is about.

Some mornings we walk past our local health food co-op. This morning as we went by, I noticed a rack of magazines through the window. All of them were some type of health magazine. Organic cooking, healthy lifestyles, etc. It brought to my attention just how enormous the health industry really is. Yoga classes, health clubs, health foods, healthy lifestyles, books and magazines and so on. And of course, it all costs money. A lot of money. The overall health industry rakes in billions of dollars annually. “Try this diet.” “Follow these 10 healthful tips for a better life.” “Read this book for the secret to a healthy life.” We see this every day. Television, radio, and social media are absolutely bombarded with ads for everything healthy. But are we healthier? Are the billions that people spend on getting healthier actually getting us healthier?

Personally I think we closed the door on any long term human existence on July 16th, 1945 with the culmination of the Manhattan project, resulting in the first Atomic bomb explosion in the deserts of New Mexico. I mean seriously, how do we know what the long term results of that will be? For all we know it could have affected some lizard which is now incubating under ground and will eventually turn into Godzilla and end up eating most of Arizona. How do we know whether or not we’ll all die from radiation poisoning? How do we know what’s causing the proliferation of cancer throughout the world? How do we know it didn’t come from nuclear testing? We don’t.

Organic foods cost more than non-organic. Capitalism guarantees it. Anything that people want in great quantities is going to be expensive. This pretty much also guarantees that people living at or below the poverty level cannot afford organic food. Even at McDonald’s a non-organic salad is more expensive than a Big Mac so just eating healthier in general is more costly. While I’m not going to get into the evils of Capitalism because this is not a political post, it just seems to me that we should be promoting health and healthy living better than we are. But in the good old USA, if you want it, it’s going to cost you.

The Mayo Clinic has a pretty good article on organic foods. You can read it here. The fact is, there’s hardly any research showing that any of this is doing us much good. Something interesting to note is that all those magazines that tell you how to be healthier are printed on some of the most toxic paper ever made. Glossy magazines don’t use recycled paper because they can’t get the quality they’re after, but they do use lots of toxic ink and glue. Have you ever stuck your nose into one? It makes you feel like you need oxygen afterward. I hate to be a Debbie Downer but I think we’re killing ourselves with a smile on our faces. We practice yoga and meditation while poisoning ourselves. And what can we do about it? Nothing. Now remember, this is just my opinion. But I think we have already put so much crap into our air, water and soil that organic foods are not going to help. If I want to start an organic farm I have to follow all kinds of government regulations to do so. At high cost. And remember kids, this is the same government which has been pumping tons of shit into the environment for decades. If you don’t want to pump shit into the environment, it’s going to cost you. Makes perfect sense, right?

I’d like to end this article on a positive note. Personally, I think quality of life is more important than quantity. If you don’t want to spend an hour on the toilet wrestling with your colon, don’t eat junk food. Just don’t get to excited by all the healthy living fads. Eat good food, live a good life. Relax.


Breakthrough Story

I made spaghetti today. When I finished, it looked like a bomb had exploded on the stove. Sauce sprayed in a blood splatter pattern, noodles and bits of hamburger like scenes from a horror movie. Unfortunately, it often looks like this when I cook. I think of children in countries where they don’t have enough to eat and feel guilty writing about my food exploits. But I do it anyway. We do a lot of things we shouldn’t, and justify them in various ways to feel better about ourselves. Just another day in the life.

What if being human is a mental illness? What if all of us so called “normal” people who go to our jobs, raise families, and cook our dinners are mentally ill? Maybe we were shipped here from some distant planet, some place where they decided to rid their society of their less than desirable people. Like the British did when they sent boat loads of people to Australia. Maybe we are the descendants of the worst of an alien society that now enjoys life without people who routinely blow up their stoves at mealtime. Are they watching us, do you suppose? Are they wondering how long it will be before they have to intervene to keep their refuse from infecting the universe?

I scanned the radio dial this morning. I heard conservatives screaming about liberals. I heard Nirvana songs. Lots of talk about the environment and children in cages. I heard Hip-Hop music. I turned the radio off and went out and stood in the rain. But the radio still played. Lots of sounds and voices and screams. And music. Country and Rock and Rap. And more voices telling me what I didn’t want to hear. I longed for the sweet sounds of water lapping at a shore and the calls of loons across the lake. Life is like a radio that never shuts off. And half the time there’s too much static to discern what I’m hearing.

So I cleaned up the stove, and ate my spaghetti. I used fresh Basil from my little herb garden. Turned out pretty good. As all these words started swirling around in my mind I knew I was on the edge of a breakthrough book or at least a prize winning article. I sat down at the keyboard, electricity tingling my fingertips. I felt like Edward R. Murrow about to break an earth shattering story and then what came out was this. A story about exploding my stove and the guilt of writing about eating. Who are we, anyway?