This article is a reflection on the current state of health in the “modern world”. We live in a world where chronic disease has reached alarming rates. Why is that? What have we done wrong? Let’s take a moment and reflect on the health of our populations, namely the relationship between daily choices and general health.
To keep things simple, let’s assume there are 3 categories of countries out there: Developed countries, Developing countries, and Least Developed Countries. I’m going to discuss them one by one, with an emphasis on what they’re doing wrong from a health perspective. Afterwards, I invite you to draw your own conclusions whatever this article even makes sense or not.
Bare with me for a few minutes. This is something a bit different from what I usually write. Thank you!
The King and Queen – Developed Countries
There are countries where the damage with food has been done for more than 60-70 years already. In this kind of society, the older generation (grandparents) is already sick from eating industrially processed foods loaded with sugar and refined oils. They’re the pre-internet generation.
The parents are even worse since, by the time they were born, the food industry got even better at producing and marketing junk foods. They were the second generation in this mass experiment and they embraced junk food in all its splendor. Their parents were too busy (for the lack of a better word) to cook real food and, since it was easier to buy ready-made, why bother with healthy choices? They are the Windows generation.
Unfortunately, their kids are even more unhealthy. They are the Facebook generation. Kids today die of cancers because their immune system is lacking even the basic ways to fight diseases.
They have diabetes, heart disease, a poor immune system, all sorts of allergies, food intolerances, autoimmune diseases and the list goes on and on. They don’t know what real food looks like, they eat pre-packaged foods and they think fast food chains are restaurants. Few of them get to smell clean air, drink clean water, eat real food or spend time outside in the sun.
The Townsman – Developing Countries
There are countries that only in the last 10-15 years have discovered the junk foods of western societies. These are countries “in-development” as we like to call them. These countries and their people still know a thing or two about eating natural foods, and this fact may even prove to save them. But they have a long way ahead and, as history has shown us numerous times, not everyone will make it.
They still know enough not to eat refined foods, not to add sugar to everything or not to buy fast-food all the time. People are somehow puzzled about the fact that it’s “so easy to get access to food” these days, that most of them don’t bother to understand the difference between real food and junk food. They make unhealthy choices because they can.
Fortunately, for some of them, fast-food is so expensive that they can’t afford to buy it more than once or twice a month. They carry the grocery bags with their hands because they can’t afford a car or they walk 5-10 km/day to work, just because there’s no public transportation where they live. They grow their own crops without any chemicals because they cannot afford to buy the chemicals. And the list can go on and on.
They are too poor to afford buying toxic foods.
But this 2nd category has a problem: they want to become part of the 1st category, and fast. They think life is easy in the 1st category, they naively think everything comes natural there.
And in order to move up, they’re ready to trust anything that people from the 1st category will tell them. This includes taking nutritional advice from populations that have destroyed their children with industrially processed foods, countries where cancers, obesity and diabetes are so common that they have become the new normal.
The Townsman is currently at a crossroad and must figure out where to go. The choice is still up to them, but time is not in their favor. Progress tells them to go up, while their strong native instinct says otherwise.
The Peasant – Least Developed Countries
And there’s the 3rd category of countries, those that are just discovering the junk foods presented as “the perfect foods”. This category is so naive that everybody will take advantage of them.
They are the last populations to know what real food is, to have living traditions kept alive for centuries, to appreciate time spent in nature. They still know how clean water tastes, how pure air feels like and they all look great because their body has developed naturally and healthy. They have natural remedies for almost everything and the word “medicine” is not well-known there.
This society has a real hope for a better future but they need to wake-up and realize they have the secret for health. This secret is not technology or fast food, the secret is natural solutions and natural foods. Investments and advances in technology are a trap, being there to serve the diseased and the unhappy.
These people still have their health almost intact, they have their happiness, they have their simple life and traditions kept alive for generations. Maybe that’s enough, it was certainly enough for many generations before them.
I’m part of the 2nd category. I was born in communist Romania in the 1980s when obesity, diabetes, cancers, heart disease or autoimmune diseases were not part of our daily lives as they are today.
We were playing outside in the sun, we didn’t have computer games, cable tv and some of them didn’t even have a tv or a phone at home. We went to the beach every day from June to September, the water was clean and pure, in a time when the sun was our friend. We never used sunscreen and we never abused food. We knew life to be simple and easy, we were children and my country was still part of the 3rd category.
During the last 20-30 years I witnessed an unprecedented shift from health to disease, while my country shifted towards the 2nd category. Furthermore, I think my country is now headed towards becoming part of the 1st category. I’m saddened to see that people are ready to do anything, eat anything or try anything as long as they get ahead faster.
For many of the people I know, life has become an absurd race to get into this 1st category. Unfortunately, many of them will be lost on this long road that leads nowhere.
An old proverb says something like this: “Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true”. What’s happening in my country right now is exactly what people wanted. It happened! Now the question is: is it worth it to go further or is it wiser to stay here and live the slow life for a change?
How do you see health in the country where you live? Are people healthier than they were 20 years ago or vice-versa? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Read more: What’s wrong with “healthy”?
Looking for health inspiration? Check out my Smoothies 101 Guide or search for inspiration in the Recipes Section. And if you’re traveling and want to keep it healthy, check-out my healthy choices travel guide.