I have a cold, a simple, common cold: adenovirus or rhinovirus. It started with a spastic coughing episode at work, like I’d inhaled wrong. I never catch anything from patients. Rather, I think this virus is a species always lurking around our airways but that rarely gets introduced deep enough into our airways to cause problems. But the night before I started getting sick, I had gotten very upset and was crying. There was the vector of entry. My immune system has been in hyper-drive for the last 3 years since my autoimmune disorder surfaced. Historically and naturally, I am rarely sick with infection. And granted, I feel like shit warmed over but this is a VIRUS. Each day it evolves and the symptoms change. There is no medicine for this except time. Where am I going with this? I read this article shared on Facebook this morning: The Obesity Era by David Berreby. Fascinating. Read it.

And so I got to thinking about obesity and the last 50 years. The history of the underfed generation after WWII and their offspring once they became the overfed middle class or upper class. I though about the industrialization of our food system. The institutionalized food constructs. Our economy built upon conglomerates of fast-food chain companies now packaged in mega truckstops/restaurants. How convenient to get Kangaroo gas and Arby’s and snack food for the road. And then I though about myself.

I was always a lean kid. Maybe too lean But I gained weight in my third decade which I attributed to being married and having babies. But after reading this article, I could attribute just as equally to being profoundly stressed due to a malpractice case or divorcing parents or my own divorce. I could attribute it to the convenient foods bought at the store that helped me be a “good mother and wife”, helped me cook a good meal that my family could sit around a table and eat together. All those foods wrapped in cellophane and packaged in plastic bags. All those drinks poured into plastic bottles and cups and served on melamine plates. Our disposable world that helps us keep the illusion of a “regular home life”, a sterile, germ-free, uber-clean world.

The I thought about the month I did the Whole30 and some threads deserve pulling. You eat clean. You read ingredients and quickly figure out that you can’t eat most partially prepared foods. All those “just add water, oil and an egg” concoctions are off the list due tho the dirty ingredients. So, you eat fresh. You eat live. Fresh things aren’t packaged in plastic wrap. Why? because they have to breathe lest they rot. And if you have access to a decent farmers’ market, where food is grown locally – or you could grow your own food – you can get food that is grown and not ‘produced’. Food production is a commercial scale operation. I think the key is buying food from The Browns or The Rogers of your community. What if you could get your meat the same way? Had someone who smoked and cured bacon. It’s certainly less convenient but when I was married, we spent more at Publix each month than we spent on our mortgage payment. Seriously. Think about that. And I suspect we were not alone in that category. In fact, if we all calculated the amount of money we spent on food, it might outweigh our housing costs.

Then there is the light and all the electronic intrusion. The LED on my iHome clock radio. My smartphone chirping, chiming and vibrating for every email, Facebook post and text message. The [power on] lights on our Sonicare toothbrushes and flatscreens TVs. The digital clocks on our stoves and microwaves. We live inside these electromagnetic fields and never question their potential risks – yet people refuse vaccinations against diseases. I am no Luddite but I do begin to wonder about the marvels of the modern world and the short and long term outcomes of that world. A simpler or SIMPLIFIED world seems the answer. Eat local, live local, go dark at night, sleep more, live clean, be active, grow (some of) your own food, consume less and try not to live on the backs of other people.

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