My chiro may have just ruined me in a glorious, freeing way. I’ve not been ruined so beautifully since Jesus and I had a heart-to-heart back in 2000. I’m not saying my chiro is Jesus; however, my journey into faith mirrors my recent steps away from mainstream thought. It was a conversation here, an event there. Suddenly the scales fell from my eyes and it wasn’t just how I felt, it’s how I see the world. It’s both joyfully freeing while at the same time saddening. You want to run through the streets expelling such wonderful news, but not be that pushy-pushy neighbor that won’t shut up about how she’s been healed.
Everybody wants to be healthy; I’m sure there’s a rare person out there that truly cares nothing about it, but on the whole everyone wants to live without pain, for as long as they can. However, rarely do we want to do the work of change. I’ve said before that there are 2 levels of change: wanting to change, and wanting to do the things that bring about change. The first is easy. The second can be excruciating. Instead, we want our productive culture to produce something that will do the work for us. We’ll buy food packaged with promises to lower cholesterol or increase metabolism. When that doesn’t work, we head to the professionals and let them write a script for the heavy-duty version.
But my friends – and this has been my biggest revelation – healthiness is more than what we buy. Believe me, I’m plenty aware that there’s a whole health food racket out there willing to sell us the organic version of the same stuff that got us in this mess. But that’s the American way. If something can make us better, then it simply must be packaged and sold for profit, right?
In this journey with Baby C and her sensitive systems, our buying habits have changed for sure. I’m hoping Panera will forgive me someday and maybe even reconcile on a more limited basis. But healthy living doesn’t depend on a product or a manufacturer. We must depend on a variety of sources to keep us going. Just like buying Addidas doesn’t do the workout for us, putting “all natural” or “reduced fat” in the cart won’t keep us thin or healthy.
I’m not pointing fingers. Doctors don’t go into their line of work to become pill dispensers – they’re put in that role because it’s what the market economy asks them to do. On the one hand, I’m saddened that I can’t expect to take my daughter into her PCP and s/he ask, “well, let’s see what we change by changing her/your diet or environment.” Instead, the script pad comes out for Nystatin. On the other hand, how many of his/her patients are coming in and asking to be put on an extremely limited diet without things like donuts and muffins, as an attempt to get rid of a rash? No, our system is one of consumption because we don’t come to get healthy, we come to buy a product that will fix us.
This new lifestyle of eating has been a lot of work. A lot. So when I raise my flags, the cries of “who has time to do this?” is a fair question. People opt for quick and easy because that’s the preference of how they’d like to spend their time. And that’s fine. If people want to take a pill instead grind nuts for flour, this beautiful land called America is the place to be. I’m just saying that I’ve decided to opt out of that.
I believe there are other ways of life, and in my (limited!) experience, they’re more effective. We know the effectiveness of drugs because the drug companies have lots of money to do studies to prove to you how effective they are. We know that Cheerios “reduce cholesterol” (I have no idea why I seem to be picking on cholesterol reduction. I’ve never had a battle with it and the word is impossible to spell correctly on the first try) because General Mills has the cash to run a study on it and then the marketing team to tell us about it. Do we know the effectiveness of nuts and broccoli? Nope. Raw food producers probably have enough of a task at hand keeping prices low enough to warrant buying fresh without adding in a marketing budget. They’re stuck with a prayer that time-honored knowledge, broccoli is good for you, will do the trick.
My journalism professor for news writing used to tell us to “follow the money trail”. It’s advice that extends beyond the newsroom. If you follow the money, you begin to learn the hows and whys. Most decisions have an economical drive, which is why our food has changed in the past 100 years. And it’s not a new idea that money rules. So these powers-that-be have their hands in government decisions, such as recommending how much or what we, or our babies eat.
So a lot of the steps I’m taking now are unconventional. Weird. But that’s because no one has come up with a way to package and sell it. But don’t you worry – someone will. And it won’t be pure. It’ll be the same song, different tune.
When I started to read up and fall in line (to some extent) the emergent church movement, people asked what was different. Many made adaptations, but it was the same thing, with candles. That’s not emerging. The change wasn’t in what was purchased or structured, but in how the world was viewed. A stream came out of that movement that had branding and structure and raised financial support. Gone was the sense of emergence; it was just… the newest fad.
I think the same will go for efforts at living healthy. Someone will put a logo on it and try to make a profit. That’s when your buzzer should go off. Not that I won’t buy the product or take part in the service. But rather, my hope is that I won’t blindly believe it will fix everything.
Just like a one-time prayer and attendance on Sunday won’t fix my spiritual life, switching brands won’t increase my life expectancy. But rather it’s the constant efforts – even the failures – that bring us a step closer to the goal. It’s leaving behind a way of life that, quite simply, wasn’t working.
So, onward we go. Hopefully with a healed-up system that allows us to enjoy the best the world has to offer. At least, that’s what the package said.