How the food we eat affects much more than our health.
I have sometimes perplexed people with my insistence over the past couple decades that if food isn’t organic it isn’t real food; it may be altered, adulterated, and many times, poisoned with additives or other chemicals. When I say organic I mean it in the true sense of the word: pure, whole, real, in its original form. Of course, our food industry is so corrupt that the “organic” label can’t be trusted anymore. The only way to know the quality of your food is to do your research and know who you’re getting your food from, where it was grown (real food is grown- it is alive), and what methods were used. One must do this whether your food is local or not. Local food that is not organic is not better, even though the local food movement would have you believe it is. Its impact on the environment might be less because it isn’t using shipping energy for distribution, but whatever toxic chemicals were used to grow the food affects our environment with negative consequences all the same.
As a professional dancer, singer and actor, I learned decades ago that my performance is directly influenced by what I put into my system. Clearly a sugar filled pre-performance meal ended up as a sluggish performance; hardly a peak performance. As I discovered what worked and contrarily, what held my performance level back, my understandings and senses were more nuanced and precise. With the research I conducted to supplement my understanding, I gained much knowledge of how our “systems” are brilliantly devised to consume (eat) what Nature provided; most of the other “food” (not) that was pasteurized, processed, preserved, and synthesized, was not only unnecessary but was harmful to our biology. Performers and athletes have always been on the cutting edge of nutritional health; the consequences of performing badly can ruin a career. Organic food fits our organic biology; modified food cannot perform as well as organic food.
I like to think holistically. As a performing artist I know how vital the whole is – for a show to work well the whole team must perform well and each member of the team affects all other members. I have come to understand that everything affects everything. Nothing exists long in a vacuum. Our food affects much more than our health and performance. It affects our economic, environmental, political, and cultural health as well. Two astute doctors I recommend below offer talks that are radical and yet common sensical.
Dr. Mark Hyman delivers a very concise and articulate Ted Talk about this holistic blending of food with the rest of our lives.
Dr. Joel Furman delivers a very powerful Ted Talk on nutritional science and the nutitarian diet.
I would encourage everyone to listen in and think about it, question it, research it, and keep the scientific, skeptical mind before buying into it. Their talks are based in science, but that doesn’t mean we should believe them. Much of science is corrupt and skewed today. Hence, my recommendation to listen with a skeptical mindset. But, and this is a big but – one that requires true responsibility, after listening to the talk, do your research. Find out if it’s true or not. And if so let your daily choices really have a healthy, positive impact on your life and the lives of others.
Our children and all the future generations of children deserve this kind of holistic and long-term thinking. Remember that the father of medicine, Hippocrates, told us to let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. Or, health is wealth. The real costs of poor food production and consumption spread-out dramatically over the sectors of medical treatments, insurance, the environment, and finally, our children and their futures.
As we help our students to investigate and consider the ramifications of their daily food choices, we help create a better theatre of performers for the future as well as a better society of optimal health – more wealth and less disease and debts.