According to my husband, I took the red pill when it comes to food. And in the wise words of Morpheus, the rabbit hole just kept going deeper and deeper. But before I share my story with you, I would like to add that I still totally relate to some practical issues: how much of my (scarce) free time will I have to give up, in order to eat healthy food? How much money and energy will it take me to pull this off? A lot, I’m afraid, is the answer to both questions in my experience. It’s ironic to realize how eating healthy food became a revolutionary act, that demands so much compromise.
I’ll share some of my personal experience in this post, but there are a few great documentaries showing professional data to back this up, such as Fed Up and Forks Over Knives:
But I didn’t always have the notion that we weren’t eating well. I was quite ignorant actually, believing that if we kept eating the fruits and vegetables I bought fresh every week, we would be just fine. Until the day I was going through my gourmet news routine, when I saw this headline about Brazil being amongst the top 5 consumers of agro-toxics in the world. Before that I hadn’t given that much thought about all the vegetables and fruits I purchased at a local supermarket, without any sort of labeling regarding its origins. After that headline I began to dig more info, because I couldn’t believe that in a country famous for its soils’ fertility, the agro business was finding a way to endanger an entire population’s health. To my deep sadness, all that madness proved itself to be true.
My first reaction was laziness: I mean, come on, more work than it already is to do our groceries?! But the more I read, the more I realized how laziness wasn’t really a choice if you are interested in life quality on the long run. I think the ultimate question is for how long one wishes to live, and what sort of life quality one intends to have during the time spent on this planet. We’ve always been into sports and outdoor activities, which demand some level of restraint when it comes to alcohol and unhealthy food. And though I haven’t given that much thought into getting really old by the time, coming to think of it now, I’ve always admired those sassy old ladies – such as my grandmother, who spent her last decades going out and having fun. So I guess, yes, longevity with life quality has always been an influence in my life choices, although not always conscious; I also have always hated going to doctors of any kind; but having a kid was the real game changer that turned the red pill into a goal.
People don’t usually change habits easily, so all my efforts into eating better were taken with light bitterness. A common line from my parents was: we’ve fed you this kind of food and you turned out just fine! Needless to say I had a tough time convincing them that the livestock didn’t take absurd amounts of antibiotics back then; nor did cows have mastitis from abusive milking – plus the milk wasn’t so heated that all nutrients were lost before it got to us, in the name of shelf life (by the way, they grew up in a world where the milk went bad in 1 single day, such freshness!); nor that the so called green revolution didn’t quite turn out to be the salvation of humans from starvation as it was intended – but instead it took us for non-paid experimental subjects for all this agro-toxics exposure, without our consent. Fruitless conversations, since I wasn’t endorsing the way I grew up when I chose to do things differently for my own family.
Fortunately we are not alone, and more and more people see it for what it is: we are about to endure a lot of dear people getting sick, on the assumption that the food industry is regulated by other major entities that will take care of us, such as the government. Well, these problems aren’t exactly news flash. And since they didn’t take care of us all these years, I think it’s likely to assume that they won’t. The food industry just makes too much money on this kind of production with minimum product lost (aka organic production).
If you are overwhelmed and still tending to laziness, I must warn you that the diseases that come from these poisons aren’t some exaggeration on the part of healthy food lovers. My husband had a high cholesterol problem that completely disappeared after all the changes we’ve made in our daily food habits. One of our employees has 3 daughters – and one of them, skinny 16 year old, wasn’t as lucky: she has diabetes. Guess what she was fed as a baby: fruits and vegetables? Try jam and processed yogurts filled with chemicals and huge amounts of sugar. We also have relatives who got different types of cancer, although we didn’t use to have any history of that sort of disease in the families, and changes in their food habits made a great deal into defeating this disease. A friend of ours recently got breast cancer, by the age of 30. And when I started asking around, 4 Brazilian gynecologists told me they had never seen so many young women with breast cancer in their entire careers, until recently. And all 4 of them couldn’t give me an answer as to why this is happening.