It's true. Sometimes I meet people and they think I must have always lived in a holistic health bubble. But I haven't. The truth is that my elementary years were filled with kool-aid, kraft macaroni, ball-park hot dogs, and diet coke. But there was something else that was different when I was a kid than just the sugar I consumed. It was the rest of the food I ate. Here's a few things that have changed since I was a kid. (and it wasn't THAT long ago...)
1. Our food was grown in our backyard.
I know that this wasn't the case for everyone of my generation, but almost all of the vegetables and berries we ate we grew ourselves. What we didn't eat fresh we either canned or froze and it served us the whole year-round.
2. Restaurants were a treat, and were not "chains."
There were only a few places to eat for us. Although there were trips to McDonald's and Burger King, they were rare. It was the stand-alone places that are becoming more of a distant memory than the highways lined with Red Robin, Olive Garden, and TGI Friday's.
3. Growth Hormones were not for animals.
When I was a kid, the cows that made our food were not injected with hormones. To us, even saying the phrase "growth hormone may be in your meat" should raise some huge red flags, but I have discovered that many people believe if the FDA said it was safe, then we shouldn't question it. Unfortunately, government bureaucracy would not exist without at least some corruption.
4. We didn't have to be concerned with what "organic" meant.
One of the biggest changes from my childhood until now has been the over-use of growth-hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides in respect to our food source. Although it was still around, it was only a fraction as to what is used today. Even trying to find the "organics" section of the supermarket was... well it wasn't even there!!
5. GMO What???
This has to be the biggest change in our diets. Genetically Modified Foods have become so prevalent that they are in almost everything not labeled "organic". My parents didn't have to be concerned about genetically modified anything or the possible effects it could have on me.
It's interesting to hear friends, patients, and family members talk about what role food plays in their life. My parents did not have the ability to make as many informed decisions as I have today for my own children. With the rise of the computer and internet, we are now overwhelmed with information and it is our job to sift out what is true, meaningful, and useful from everything else we are bombarded with on a daily basis.
Even though we still ate enough sugar to last my lifetime, the food that they served us was as close to "organic" as it could have gotten for that time in history.
We have a very difficult time explaining what has happened to our food chain to patients, friends, and family. Especially those ages 40 and over, because during their adolescence, food was still primarily "untainted." For them, "organic" is still bought by people who's elevator doesn't quite reach the top floor. It's costly and they just don't see the change that has happened in the last 25 years.
We have gone from a society of health and wellness care to a society of sickness everywhere. Cancer has always been around, but today if you don't have cancer, don't get cancer, etc., then you are the incredible minority. (Cancer is just an example of an abundance of diseases prevalent in our post-modern society).
I would love any input you have or ideas to help enhance our explanations to patients, friends, and family.
Thanks a bunch!!