Monday, January 23, 2012

Disrupted Cycles

Our world is made up of cycles, some longer like the cycle of the seasons, and some shorter like the change from daylight to darkness to daylight once again.

These cycles along with geography served our ancestors well, by providing them with adequate food and nutrition throughout the year to live without the chronic diseases that plague us in the current era.

How inconvenient these cycles must have been, as it seems our modern society is always trying to find ways to make time stop in the most favorable (profitable?) step in any cycle. 

Ways we disrupt the natural plant and animal cycles that become our food:

* Disrupting seasonality by extending growing seasons of fruits and vegetables with artificial lighting to accommodate the "any food at any time" expectation in the grocery store

* Disrupting fertility with artificial lighting in chicken coops to promote highest yield of eggs per day from the flock

* Disrupting growth cycles by feeding grain to our cattle who's rumens are designed to eat grass to fatten them up faster and faster than their grazing ancestors

* Disrupting aging cycles with pasteurization, irradiation, and use of preservatives that destroys our food's natural microbiology and ability to age gracefully

Nutrition "facts" that perpetuate the idea that the disruption of natural cycles is ok:

* The idea that there is an optimal range of macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein, fat)  distribution, when this is blatantly ethnocentric as macronutrient distributions vary greatly with what was available to traditional peoples based on their geographic location and seasonality

* The idea that there is an optimal "recommended daily intake" of micronutrients, when this notion is blatantly incompatible with eating a traditional diet based on the seasonal availability of foods

* The idea that in order for food to be safe, it must be devoid of microbiology

* The idea that bigger, faster, and cheaper is desirable when it comes to our food

Disrupting the natural cycles that connect us with the turning of the earth creates imbalance and disease in our food systems. Is it really such a shock that our modern diseases are that of hormonal and metabolic imbalances? Perhaps it is our bodies mirroring the world around us... 

 And then perhaps the key to health is not focusing so much on what will cure us from the inside out, but rather what will restore the natural cycles in our surroundings to support our health from the outside in. 

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