Friday, June 24, 2011

The Preference for Poison

The pharmaceutical companies might not have as much to worry about as they think from vitalistic health approaches.  It isn't because there aren't non-toxic or non-pharmaceutical alternatives to most of the mainstream treatments for major and minor maladies.  I believe that there is so much we can do with whole foods in various forms to prevent and heal damage that I feel compelled to study it with devotional zeal.  No, it is because a majority tends to view the allopathic approach as the "easy way." 

I was chatting with a friend whose father-in-law has AML.  He is in chemotherapy, but he isn't interested in modifying his diet or his lifestyle, and the prognosis is not promising.  The odd thing is, he feels terrific on the chemo, and horrible off it.  Now, the way chemo works, it is true that the nadir (rock-bottom) comes after the treatment, but I would not describe the experience of toxic drug therapy as "terrific."  No; "white-knuckled and teeth-clenched, grasping at the core of health lest I spin off into black misery" is closer to it.  And yet it is easier, psychologically, to undergo these treatments than to stop eating bread or drinking coffee (and don't even ask me about alcohol).  Whyizzat?
My Beautiful Bread!  How do I part with it?
There are deep cultural and social reasons, as well as individual psychological ones.  Many of them are well documented and explained in this article, which highlights the addictive and toxic characteristics of all the grasses we eat (including rice, corn, and any monocotyledonous foods), with wheat at the top of the heap.  (See also this for an explanation of the health dangers of whole grains, aside from gluten)  Read these essays.  They are stunning arguments for an immediate cessation of grain consumption, even for healthy folks.

Sustenance is the basis of much of our human interaction.  We identify ourselves by what we eat, and our cultural rituals are rooted in it.  To stray from the norm, and again from our own place of comfort, feels a radical act.  All addictions are ritualistic, and all rituals are habitual (with apologies to Jane's Addiction).  In order to change, what we are moving towards must become as compelling, or more so, as what we are leaving behind. 

This transition happens slowly, at least for me.  Now I am moving towards a paleolithic diet, in a household where my partner is a pesca-vegetarian and my children like nothing better than bread with butter and honey (NOT toasted, thank you).  The amazing thing is, it's working!  It is working because it finally made sense, on an emotional level.

It is certainly cheaper to heal yourself with food than drugs, but the pharmas have psychology and cultural identity on their side.  Until we identify this weight, we cannot unburden ourselves from it.

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