When I started to eat healthily 57 years ago, after being a sickly child and hating being sick, I was ridiculed and called a health food nut. I had to be very strong to stick with my conviction that I was on the right track. I had read Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, so I knew what was going on with the food system. Fortunately, in my struggle to do what felt right, I found out that I was not alone. I joined the National Health Federation, which at that time was a dangerous group to be part of. We had to meet in clandestine places like parking garages, so we wouldn't get caught "being subversive" regarding the health and food industries.
Socially, it's been an ongoing challenge for me because there are not many restaurants I will eat at. Even organic restaurants often use canola oil to fry with, because it's cheap. People still sometimes ridicule me in social situations for not eating the way they do.
However, at 79, I am the picture of health and vitality, while most of the people who made fun of me in the past are either dead or have cancer, heart disease, arthritis, or diabetes - or are having their hips and knees replaced or are suffering with anxiety and depression. Those who currently make fun of me often shut their mouths once they hear how old I am, because I look way younger than my age.
I live on a ranch, and many of the young people we have working for us are socially and culturally programmed to eat poorly - as part of their social system. They are afraid that if they eat well and stop drinking or getting stoned, they won't have any friends. One of the young women who started working for us a few years ago was hugely obese. Of course, she was eating exactly the way her parents had been and still were. Role-modeling and sociocultural factors greatly influence how people eat, think and behave, and this young woman was deeply programmed. She was a lost soul. At 26, she had no idea what she wanted to be when she grew up, and her imbalanced microbiome was creating so much anxiety and depression that it was hard for her to even think about her life. It was very sad.
One Sunday, I was working with some of the horses on our ranch. Occasionally, I would run at full speed with the horses. This young woman, who couldn't run at all, was watching me. That's when she asked for help. Over the next year, she lost 100 pounds, despite both her boyfriend and her family making it hard for her. She still has to be strong, in the face of her boyfriend and friends, to eat so differently than they do. Fortunately, in the process of my helping her with food, I was also able to help her find her emotional and spiritual strength, so now, instead of overvaluing what others think, she is able to tune in to what brings her joy. Because she is taking loving care of herself and has learned to value herself, she recently applied for and received a scholarship to the local university to study soil health - something she has grown passionate about!
We cannot separate the health of our soil and our food from the health of our planet, including climate change, or from the rise in illness, suicide, anxiety, depression, and mass murders. We are caught in a vicious circle, where many people become depressed from their compromised gut, which is the direct result of low-quality soil and food. Then, they go to a psychiatrist who has no idea that their gut might be the cause of their depression, so they are given antidepressants, which further mess up their gut. In some people, these drugs cause homicidal and suicidal tendencies - side effects the drug companies know about but suppress. Research shows that nearly every mass-shooter on record has been on these drugs. (http://cgpgmg.com/active-shooters-and-psychotropic-drugs/)
We all know that greed is behind all this, but what's behind the greed?
For the most part, the greed behind this destruction is the result of an epidemic of inner emptiness. This crushing emptiness most often comes from disconnection from self and Spirit. When people are not able to lovingly manage and learn from their painful feelings, they become adept at avoiding their pain with various forms of self-abandonment: behaviors like self-judgment, numbing themselves with addictions, and trying to fill the emptiness with sex, money and, most relevant to this discussion, power. This constant search to fill oneself up externally, and to feel powerful, leads to more, not less, internal disconnection - from oneself, from others, and from the planet. When people have no experience of connection with each other, with our planet and with Spirit, they become lost souls, desperately trying to find peace, happiness and worth externally. Too often, in the process, they leave an enormous path of destruction behind them.