“There’s a village called Mesa de la Yerbabuena. Many of the best runners were from Yerbabuena. They had a very good trail which would let them cover a lot of distance in a day, much farther than you could get to from here. Unfortunately, the trail was so good that the Mexican government eventually decided to slick it with asphalt and turn it into a road. Trucks began showing up in Yerbabuena, and in them, foods the Tarahumara had rarely eaten – soda, chocolate, rice, sugar, butter, flour. The people of Yerbabuena developed a taste for starch and treats, but they needed money to buy them, so instead of working their own fields, they began hitching rides to Guachochi, where they worked as dishwashers and day laborers, or selling junk crafts at the station in Divisadero. That was twenty years ago. Now there are no runners in Yerbabuena.”
Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
By Christopher McDougall
When I read this paragraph this afternoon, I couldn’t wait to share it with everyone. Lately I’ve been thinking of doing a “What If” post and I feel that this paragraph from McDougall’s book fits in with some of my ideas.
Does it make anyone else as sad as it makes me to see that food can completely wipe out a culture. Some of the healthiest people in the entire world abandoned the life that they had known forever in exchange for some sugar and butter. What you’re not getting from the paragraph that I gave you above, is the fact that the Tarahumara people are running gods. Seriously, the feats that they’ve accomplished are nothing short of superhuman. Example:
“According to the Mexican historian Francisco Almada, a Tarahumara champion once ran 435 miles, the equivalent of setting out for a jog in New York City and not stopping until you were close to Detroit. Other Tarahumara runners reported went 300 miles at a pop. That’s nearly 12 full marathons, back to back to back, while the sun rose and set and rose again.”
See what I mean. Real life Superhero’s. Right here in North America. But unfortunately, their kryptonite, like many of you (and me), is food. So with that said, here are my thoughts on what if.
- The government outlawed pesticides, artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, hormones and antibiotics in food, GMO’s, high fructose corn syrup, refined white flour, artificial sweeteners, hydrogenated oils?
We would ALL be healthier, happier, richer, thinner. We wouldn’t have a choice! American wouldn’t spend $147 billion in health care costs relating to obesity, which means that instead, we could put that money towards education and then we could add smarter to the list. We may finally be able to find a cure (or prevention) for cancer, autism, food allergies, diabetes, high blood pressure, ADD, hell – even cavities!
- We didn’t rely on others for our food?
We would know every single thing that we put in our bodies and why we are putting it in. We would only eat things that were fresh and at their best. We would watch a little less tv in order to cook with our families. We would use less gas because people wouldn’t be idling at drive – through windows all over the world, every second of the day. There would be less trash because there would be less packaging.
- We used food to feed our bodies and not just our bellies.
We would feel good. We would be healthy. We would have a healthy relationship with food. Our children wouldn’t even know what an eating disorder was. Life would be better.
It’s horrible to think that something that we need to survive is also killing us. Unlike kicking smoking, or drinking, or even drugs, you HAVE to put food in your body, so the only way to break the habit is to be strong. Diets don’t work because you will eventually have to go back to eating normal (unless you want and can afford nutrisystem delivered to your door for the rest of your life! – and even so, if it comes in a package to your door, is it really real food?). The only light at the end of this tunnel is the fact that YOU can choose to change your life. It’s a simple choice. Food or health. Personally, I got to the point where I knew that I wasn’t one of those lucky girls who can eat whatever she wants, whenever she wants and still be stick thin. I knew that I had to either decide to continue on with being fat, tired, and unhappy or I could choose to eat right, get healthy, and be happy. I made my decision and today, I couldn’t be happier that I’m not one of those naturally rail thin girls – because if I were, I may never have learned what I know now.