Johnny’s great-grandfather’s diet included plenty of vegetables right out of the garden, fresh eggs from the henhouse and buckets full of cold, refreshing spring water. Grandpa went fishing and hiking with his boys up until the day he left this world—and folks often remarked how he looked and acted like a man 20 years younger than his 80-odd years.
Johnny normally has a pop-up pastry for breakfast. His typical lunch is a soft drink and a mashed-up substance called “chicken nuggets.” Join Johnny for super, and you are likely to be served an artificially colored, preservative-laced super helping of macaroni and “cheese.”
Johnny’s schedule calls for a half hour of gym class each week at school, but he seldom gets any other exercise beyond walking from the bus stop on the corner to his video game setup at home in the afternoon.
At 12 years old, Johnny is bordering on obesity. He already tests for cholesterol levels that will soon require medication. And Johnny’s mother was just warned by the family physician that, unless something changes, Johnny is a prime candidate for Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Mother says she just doesn’t know what to do—Johnny is picky about what he eats, and he says it is too hot or cold most days to go outside and play.
Does Johnny remind you of anyone?
The average life expectancy for a United States citizen has been rising steadily since 1900. Johnny’s generation will likely be the first to see it reverse and head the other direction.
Millions, maybe billions, of dollars will be spent on research to find out why that is—but it doesn’t seem too difficult of a puzzle to solve, does it? Modern technology has provided the means and environment for factors like this:
- The average diet includes plenty of refined and highly processed foods, but few fruits and vegetables.
- Mega-farm agricultural practices have stripped crop soil of nutrients, meaning the fresh foods we do eat contain significantly fewer nutrients.
- Mega-farms rely on pesticides, fungicides and herbicides that are hazardous to health and are probably the reason why honeybees are dying in droves.
- We have to make room in our busy schedules for exercise. Most of us don’t. Schools have cut physical education programs to the bone.
- Air and water quality have diminished considerably. We are subjected daily to exhaust fumes and fine particulates that lodge deep in our lungs.
- Modern life moves at such a pace that everything is stressful. School kids are stressed. Their parents are stressed. The news is stressed. Our jobs are stressed. Relaxation is playing Grand Theft Auto on a gaming device or watching other people engage in sports on television.
So what is being done about it?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we looked at the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into and decided to reverse course? Can you imagine one big “Uh-oh” being uttered around the world and governments deciding to drop the arms race, pay attention to the human race and unilaterally decide to pursue peace, health and happiness rather than conflict, death and despair?
That’s not likely to happen. We would all be much better off, if it did. But the chances are real slim. The question becomes more about what we will do as individuals rather than about what we will do as a community, nation or race. And that may be the answer to the dilemma.
All change begins with the individual. After all, individuals made discoveries that other individuals adopted that led to our current state of affairs. The world didn’t wake up one morning and decide to get rid of family farms and organic methods in favor of agri-business.
The situation developed gradually, playing upon the desire of both consumer and stockholder to get more and spend less. That trick can work well artificially, but you can’t fool Mother Nature. In reality, you get out according to what you put in.
There is no need for a bullet list of action steps here. We all know what to do.
We need to eat for strength rather than for pleasure. We need to engage in physical work (exercise) daily. We need to pay attention to what matters most and stop worrying so much about what doesn’t. We need to look into the eyes of our loved ones rather than stare at the television or computer screen. You know that. I know that. We know that.
Only one thing remains … do it.
And I can’t wait for you to start, nor can you wait for me to start. Each is responsible for oneself and ones family. Each is responsible to reach out to others and join with likeminded individuals to start a counter-revolution … for, if the circle of life is to continue, the direction we are going must reverse.