Wednesday, April 7, 2010

World Health Day

Today is World Health Day, and there are many parts of the world where diseases long conquered in the US and other nations of the West, run rampant.  Poverty, ignorance and political agenda figure heavily in the situations that needlessly claim so many lives.

We in the West are not immune to health issues, but in this land of plenty, the diseases are different.  They don't stem from lack, but from the very abundance of our culture.  Gluttony may be last on the list of  the Christian's deadly sins, but it is perhaps the most deadly of all.

The largest growing industry in this country appears to be health care, and all its accoutrements.

As Americans of every age and socioeconomic strata consume more food and drink than their bodies can handle, obesity is inevitable, and with obesity comes illnesses such as diabetes, arthrosclerosis, high blood pressure, etc.  It is indicated in cancer, skin problems, digestive issues, joint replacements and more.

Being morbidly obese is now considered 'a disability'.  By that reasoning, shouldn't we add alcoholics to the disabled.  Is there really a difference from one addiction to the next that we arbitrarily draw the line. Each is over-consuming to their detriment.

It takes a considerable effort to maintain a healthy body when even the producers of our food stack the odds against us.  They add sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup to the unlikeliest of foods.  Frozen fruit juices don't need more sugar; they are already sweet. I don't want sugar in my canned or pickled beets, or my tomatoes or my mayonnaise.

I used to buy Dukes mayo, because it was the only one I could find using real ingredients and containing no sweeteners.  It was just as good if not better than the big sweetened brands.  But alas, Dukes has gone from glass containers to plastic, and I eliminate as much plastic from my life as I can.  I'm making my own mayo now à la Maratha Stewart. It only takes a few minutes and keeps 2 weeks.

This has been mostly a rant, but on this World Health Day, we need to take a good look at what and how much we consume and the consequences of that consumption. I have a favorite quote I heard long ago; I can't remember who said it, but it made an impression on me and informs my decisions on many levels:

There is nothing so limiting to personal freedom as ill health.

With the World Health Organization's Campaign of 1000 cities, 1000 lives, people are organizing events worldwide during the week of 7 – 11 April 2010.  

I'm not attending any event, but taking a personal step.  I'm seriously considering limiting the over-consumption of my favorite cookie which is beer.

(c) Perle Champion

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