The growing sophistication of human civilization has brought us the unsolicited repercussion of illness. Often we hear our elders talking about how people used to be naturally healthy and rarely visited hospitals or consumed complicated course of medicines; how diet, consideration for nature and biorhythm were treated with utmost respect and the results showed on the body.
Today the food sections of supermarket chains across the globe in affluent countries look almost identical in their florescent displays. Vegetables, fruits and grains from all corners of the world reach these supermarkets thanks to sophisticated logistics and supply chains. Transportation and logistics technology and crop science have crossed many frontiers today, and food can be grown in glasshouses on just water and nutrients without the need for soil or dependency on weather patterns.
Farmer’s markets exist too, but these are for indulgent weekends as a majority prefers the efficient, sanitized and categorized aisles of supermarkets for a weekly stocking of fuel for the most important and amazing machines of all – our bodies. And frequently, we overdo it.
Are things better today? Do we live higher quality lives as a result of what food and nutritional technology has enabled? Has this wide variety of choice brought us closer to the collective human yearning to live healthy wholesome lives? If anything, it is more of an elusive chimera today than ever.
We cannot imagine using unleaded petrol in our expensive vehicles. But do not give a second thought before swallowing food that our bodies have little use for or requirement of. We ply our sluggish systems with complex diets (augmented with multivitamins for good measure), unseasonable fruits and vegetables which sometimes contradict digestive and absorptive capacity, occasional binges and the odd alcohol and beverage onslaught.
Animals in the wild rarely get sick, even domesticated animals refuse food or regurgitate when their systems are troubled in any manner. They eat only what their bodies require. Humans have the same instinct, if only they valued it. The body has intricate software to maintain, develop and heal itself. It is when we ignore those subtle signals that blockages and illnesses develop.
Truth is, our bodies are naturally resilient and require much less of the over-nutrition we have habituated ourselves to. A dependence on fresh produce, simple meals and occasional fasting to cleanse the system and alertness to our health pulse could shield us from a majority of modern day illnesses.
The other and darker side of the abundance-story is the section of humanity still perishing of starvation and malnutrition despite the wonders of technology and global economic prosperity. Ironically, continents that are responsible for the most bountiful food production contain the most impoverished and malnourished component of humanity.
A respect for the life-giving property of food is missing from most of our children today. Add to this the inefficiencies and the ecological and environmental impact of transporting food across half the globe, and the snapshot of an inconsiderate species is complete.
The greatest illness afflicting humanity today is abuse of choice not a cosmic conspiracy to deteriorate human health. Our collective task as humans is to be responsible to our bodies and our world with respect to the abundance that we have been blessed with and a prudent utilization of the precious bounty of nature.