Find your inner Aborigine
I was recently re-reading Michael Pollin's book "In Defense of Food" when I was reminded of a story about how remarkable our bodies are and how they want to thrive if given the proper environment.
In his book, Pollin talks about a group of Aborigines (indigenous people to Australia) who actively farmed and raised their own food in their native land prior to moving to the United States.
Once in the US, however, they quickly developed poor eating habits and became indoctrinated into our processed and fast-food diet that is high in fat, sugar and salt. They chose soda over water. They became sedentary, using cars to get from place to place and stopped getting the exercise they naturally benefited from when farming.
As a result of this lifestyle change, besides becoming obese, they started to develop the diseases of the Western world: high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Welcome to America, the land of the free and the obese.
One would think that the diseases caused by this severe lifestyle change were irreversible — but not so.
Pollin discusses how at one point the Aborigines went back to Australia and started farming again. They were forced to stop eating processed and fast food because it was not available to them. They naturally became active again, getting their exercise from working the land every day.
Guess what happened? They started to lose weight. Those with diabetes no longer needed medication. Their blood pressure and cholesterol became normal. They were healing themselves simply by eating real food and moving again — to the point where most of them returned to the health they had prior to eating the Western diet.
Imagine that! Eating well and moving proved to be more beneficial than being on a regime of taking medication to treat symptoms caused by continuing to eat a poor diet.
How much healthier would we be if processed and fast foods were not available to us? Is it that simple? I think so.
Our bodies make us accountable for our choices. To further illustrate this point, I have a dear friend who used to smoke. She was constantly clearing her throat due to the irritation the smoking was causing her body, and when she would get sick, it would take her body twice as long to heal itself.
When she quit smoking, the coughing went away — almost immediately. A year and a half later, she is smoke free, cough free, has fewer colds and is enjoying the benefits of exercise that were not possible when she smoked.
Find your inner Aborigine. We have opportunities to be active. We have the freedom to make healthy choices. Try to eat foods that our bodies recognize. Try riding a bike or walking to the market, to school, to work. Our bodies were meant to move.
Let's heal our bodies with good, nutrient-rich foods, and let's stop spending a fortune on pharmaceuticals to treat diseases caused by a poor diet. The time to challenge yourself is now.
I work out with a gal who is always motivating us with these words: "If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you." Are you up for the challenge?
Kevin Cotter is managing general partner at New Earth Market in Yuba City.