Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.
Long ago, I made a rare visit to a renowned beauty salon to have my silky, straight hair shaped for my wedding. To me, the cost of the salon was an extreme extravagance—the only one I allowed myself out of our meager wedding funds. When the stylist did nothing but trim my hair and exclaim about how healthy it was, I was bitterly disappointed. Surely I could’ve chopped off my split ends for free! The stylist directed my attention to the woman in the next chair. Speaking quietly in my ear, he told me to look at her hair, how the clipped dyed ends on the floor looked more like jagged crystals than hair. “That’s over processing,” he told me. “Her hair is straw. I never see hair as lovely as yours. Please continue to let it be natural.”
These many years later, I can no longer boast about silky long hair. I’m thrilled to have hair at all. But I’ve just learned another lesson about processing—one long overdue. In an attempt to make prepared food more profitable for the corporations and simpler for the masses to access, food engineers have also made it into an enemy. We have a choice between “organic” and pesticides and processes that murder most of what was tasty and healthful about the food to begin with. Animals are stacked on one another in horrific conditions and then we’re supposed to eat the antibiotic and hormone-laden carcasses.
Many pretend they can’t see the link between the dreadful condition of our food and the dreadful condition of our health. For the first time, Americans are beginning to die earlier than their predecessors. We’re eating ourselves to death—by heart disease, diabetes, etc. We didn’t mean to. We think we’re eating pretty much the way our parents and grandparents did. But we’re not. Our food has changed. We eat far more at a time because our foods are not filling, but many are addictive (with added processed sugars). We eat artificial substitutes for the old flavors we loved, and when we discover exactly how food engineers recreate those flavors from disgusting chemicals, we feel as sick as we are.
As I observe the struggles over the upcoming presidential election, I’m struck by the thought that people have become over processed, too. We want heroes, not leaders—people we’d like to join for a drink, people who would make interesting main characters in a comic book movie. We’ve been manipulated for so long that we crave simple answers to complex problems. We want education to inoculate us with intelligence and doctors to provide instant, traditional cures. We want to isolate ourselves from people and problems we don’t understand. We don’t want responsibility.
But we were born with natural gifts for a beautiful world. Science has demonstrated that we were born to cooperate, that communities of people who care for one another are healthier and more civilized. When we walk in the natural world—as opposed to developed attractions—we feel better—less depressed and more optimistic. When we eat clean, natural foods from the earth (organic, non GMO, unprocessed), we can avoid many diseases to which our genetics have predisposed us—including many allergies. When we vote with our brains and not our emotions, we choose leaders who can balance our fragile democracy on the sword of the chaos we see elsewhere in the world. It’s all about using the tools we were born to use.