For weeks, I watched mainstream media try to do something that they have not done since 9/11 and that is have a real conversation about an issue threatening the lives of every single person regardless of position, privilege, politics, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic level, age, gender and location, and do it without being swayed by politics, advertisers, corporate greed and consumer appetites.
As I listened to the media and the national, state and local governments talk about all things Corona related, I listened and participated in conversations with close friends and family who were also trying to mitigate the disruption of their schedules, ways of living, working, shopping and consuming. From what I heard, it seemed like every person with a platform or opinion were more than willing to tell us how and what to do and why we must completely change everything we were doing to protect ourselves from others and others from ourselves, and take responsibility for the collective good.
I have to admit it has been interesting to watch how we have tried to make sense of the Coronavirus and make it fit into our consumer mindset and lifestyle. It’s been a long time since we were forced to deal with a real issue that couldn’t be used as a means to our individually selfish ends and also forced to collectively take real action, do it quickly and not at our individual leisure or when we felt like it. When was the last time we were forced to deal with an issue that affects all of us, and one that we could not politicize, ignore, build a wall, construct a cage or flimsy systems of beliefs and reasons to contain and/or explain or pass the blame and responsibility onto someone else?
Without a doubt, the Coronavirus pandemic has shown us how hard it is for most of us to have a direct conversation about anything. We have built-in so many diversions and distractions in our consumer lifestyles that it seems only death knocking on our door has been able to get our temporary attention. Perhaps, it’s because we have been hardened by the diet-related disease and sickness epidemics, which have clearly demonstrated that we can completely ignore the slow and often times painful death of family, friends and our own selves while actively participating in the very consumer lifestyles that causes us to lose limbs, the ability to have sex, to move without pain, to lose normal function of our organs, sabotages our bodies ability to fight disease and sickness, creates imbalances that damage our abilities to sit, stand or walk incorrectly, denies our culpability and refuses to acknowledge the daily choices that we make to put ourselves and others at risk for all types of cancers and life destroying diseases.
Seriously, how else do we explain why it has taken the worst case scenario (immediate death) to force us to look at our health and the health of others? Insanity. Furthermore, look how long it has it taken for us to take the Coronavirus seriously, even as death tolls and hospitalizations were soaring. Was it because we are so used to fear based news, fear mongering, bad news and living with our individually curated distractions, built in defenses and entertaining ways to deny the truth? Is that the same reason why we can keep mindlessly consuming with death and diseases all around and in us?
How long did we think that we could keep living like this and pretend that the tsunami of truth wasn’t going to crush us at some point and time? How many bowls of ice cream, dozens of doughnuts, cases of beers, liters of soft drinks, gallons of sweet teas, bags of chips, super sized french fries, slabs of beef, buckets of chicken and pizza pies did we think we could consume before we had to deal with the consequences?
Surely, we didn’t think we could continue to blame our daily decisions to fill our bodies with C. R. A. P. and the diseases that result from filling our bodies with crap on our genetics, the environment and something entirely not our fault, like a virus. The data and even more, our own physical results have been obvious for years with the growing likelihood that as bad as diet-related disease and sickness are and have been reported, the catastrophic consequences have been underreported everywhere. Even though the statistics are undeniable, they are likely years behind where we actually find ourselves, and they do not account for millions of people who are living with diseases that are most certainly diet-related but not “proven” beyond a shadow of a doubt with a double blind study.
Still, the best data reports that 500,000 Americans die of diet-related disease each year and 11,000,000 human beings die globally. Just sit here for a minute with the fact that the number one killer in America is a direct result of us individually eating and drinking ourselves to death. That’s right, we are dying from gluttony and we are ultimately to blame for the number one cause of death and sickness and disease in our families, churches, businesses, communities, cities, nation and world.
Now, thanks to the Coronavirus Pandemic it appears that our national, state and local governments are finally trying to have a direct conversation about our health. The reason being that the Coronavirus was a matter of life and death, and all people were at risk of being infected and affected. One thing that came out during the Pandemic was that people with underlying health issues were more vulnerable to the Coronavirus. But even with that information, I rarely heard anything about the cause of these ‘underlying health issues’ and what or who had caused them and what we could do to rid ourselves of our underlying health issues.
Rather than talking directly about our diet-related disease and sickness, It seemed “underlying health conditions” were just another scary diagnosis that, like the Coronavirus, was over our heads and out of our control. But for those of us who have been on the front lines of the diet-related disease and sickness epidemic, we sat here waiting for the moment that we have all been waiting for a long time, and that was the moment for a real and honest conversation from the leaders of country, governments and hospitals about the underlying health conditions that have been skyrocketing for decades. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for us to talk about the “underlying health conditions” and how they are mostly caused by our gluttonous consumer lifestyles.
I waited for someone to say, “America, we need you to stay in your homes and get healthy.” I waited for people to beat my door down, I mean DM me on Facebook, begging me to help with their diets but all I heard was… crickets. I heard nothing from anyone. Instead of people asking for help, I heard fear, blame and complaining, and it seemed the most fearful people were the ones who had underlying health issues. As the Coronavirus and fear surged, I continued to wait for the initial shock to wear off and for real talk to happen about the mass majority of underlying health conditions being the diet-related diseases and sicknesses that we ourselves have caused and continue to support everyday with our consumer lifestyles. I waited and I waited… for leaders in our government and those suffering from diet-related disease and sickness to make the connection, to have an epiphany and to see the light. I mean it was Easter and I always expect miracles at Easter.
In many ways, The Coronavirus Pandemic took away our consumer lifestyles and put our entire day and lives back in our laps for weeks. Yes, the coronavirus pandemic created the space that we have all needed for a long time to look death in the face and say, “What do I need to do to be my healthiest self and give myself everything I need to fight, prevent and recover from this virus, should I get it?” However, instead of an honest conversation happening with ourselves or experts and leaders using their platforms, positions and daily presence on TV to say what is 100% true, we have now used the Coronavirus Pandemic as the biggest distraction from our diet-related disease and sickness.
In fact, we basically replaced our unhealthy consumer lifestyles with an unhealthy obsession with the Coronavirus pandemic and we filled in the gap that was created when we were forced to stop and listen, and watch, watch, watch and watch people talk about the Coronavirus. We have heard countless people tell us to stay home, wear a mask, social distance, support local business and wash our hands, and do it with a heavy dose of fear, guilt and shame. Yet, why didn’t we discuss what we should and could be doing to alleviate the number one thing that was making us most vulnerable to getting very sick and dying from the Coronavirus? We were told that those who were most susceptible to the Coronavirus had underlying health conditions but we weren’t told that for the mass majority of us our underlying health conditions are caused by our daily choices NOT to give our spirits, hearts, minds and bodies what they need to be healthy.
Instead of forcing a much needed conversation, the Coronavirus was used to distract us even more from the truth that our unhealthy consumer lifestyles are the main thing that has put us all at risk. Seriously, how many segments did we see on masks, shields, social distancing and hand washing compared to segments about our actual responsibility and natural abilities to get healthy, to start eating fruits and vegetables, to exercise and do things that we have in our daily power to take control of. We talk about the most terrible and heartbreaking stuff all the time and the Coronavirus Pandemic was no exception. Story after story about fear, death, chaos, mass hysteria and toilet paper but we couldn’t handle a direct conversation about diet-related disease and sickness?
Surely, we didn’t think that just wearing a mask, washing our hands and social distancing were the most important measures that we needed to take to mitigate the Coronavirus. Surely, we didn’t believe that we can be classified as “healthy” or without an underlying health condition if we suck down sodas, over consume the recommended daily amounts of calories, sugar, fat, and sodium, and under consumed nutrient dense whole foods, don’t drink enough water or exercise. We all know that a smoker is not healthy. Why don’t we know that the dictionary’s definition of health and the the one we use to determine health, (which is “to be free of sickness and disease”) also diagnoses the mass majority of us as unhealthy because 88% of Americans have some form of diet-related disease and sickness?
I am sure you heard story after story about a “healthy” or “perfectly healthy” person dying of Covid-19 but when 88% of Americans have diet-related disease, 1 in 10 Americans eat the RDA of fruit and vegetables and only 3% eat the RDA of fiber, I would confidently argue than 9 out 10 Americans are not healthy, even if their diet-related disease and illnesses are being treated by pills and procedures. In all that I saw, I did not hear one person take responsibility for their health. More than that, I did not hear one leader say that it is our American duty (and the most patriotic thing that we can do) is to get healthy.
Where were the men and women who confessed, “I really set myself up for this virus because I have not done the things I need to do to be healthy.” It would have been the most honest thing for most of us to say. Why didn’t we hear individual after individual say, “I am scared because I have put myself at risk and I have put a lot of other people at risk because I chose to be unhealthy for days, weeks, months and years, and I pray these measures that I am doing now to social distance, wear a mask and wash my hands will help protect me as I start giving myself a fighting chance to be healthy.”