The area I live in is ripe with poverty. And obesity. And poor dental health. But you don’t need to live in rural New Hampshire to see this. You can see it all over the US, in cities, suburbs, and the country.
Food is expensive. If you want to eat organic, the cost can be totally prohibitive. So many of us are unemployed, or underemployed, making it more difficult to make good choices when it comes to food.
“More than 33% of adults who earn less than $15,000 per year were obese, compared with 24.6% of those who earn at least $50,000 per year,”
“I have a job that stimulates me intellectually and that pays rather well” says Hecate. The job she has, making the money she does, gives her constant access to healthy food. I’m making some assumptions here — that Hecate eats three square meals of healthy food each day, that she bases her choices on her income and, her health, overall, is quite good because she has access to information, healthy food, and healthcare — but not everyone is in the same boat as she.
So many of us cannot access good food. We make the best choices we can. There are times when the lack of money leaves us no other choice than the 99 cent menu at McDiabetes. Many of us live the economic downturn (or The Second Great Depression as I like to call it) cannot shop the outer isles of the grocery store and have to eat what’s in the middle isles. And this takes a huge toll on our health: physically, dentally, and mentally.
“We experience *everything*, including our spirituality through the lens of our sensorium: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Our bodies are the conduit by which we both experience and interpret the sacred” says Galina. How is our sensorium marred by chemically processed food? Our senses decrease with the constant stimulation of chemicals in our food. It doesn’t taste or smell as delectable. Textures are changed. For example, finding watermelons with black seeds is almost impossible now. The best part of eating ripened watermelon is to spit the seeds out in competition with friends and family, to see who can spit the furthest at bbqs.
What Galina doesn’t touch upon is how our brains and emotions are affected by chemical foods. From my own experience, the life long depression I’ve carried has eased significantly since I stopped eating chemical food. The attention deficit disorder is almost gone. The feelings of “out of control” have lifted off of me. I no longer seek chemicals to to ease the symptoms of these ailments: pharmaceuticals, intoxicants, and food. But I know I’m of the privileged: Wolf and I are in a position to choose to put what little money we have coming in toward organic CSA foods. So many others are not. And as much as we’d love to be 100% local organic, that is not an economic reality for us. The cost is too prohibitive and access still isn’t broad enough.
I listen to so many Pagans talk about the pills they take, of the pain they feel, of how they wish they could lose weight. They say this as they eat corn chips, fruit peeled and chunked by a grocery store (grown goddess knows where), and drinking diet soda. I know where they are emotionally because I was there not long ago. I took the bull by the horns and made significant lifestyle changes that have been nothing but positive. But when those chemicals are ruling your brain, it’s so hard for another to get through to your soul, your consciousness. I understand. I’ve been there.
I am a goddess just as Wolf is a god. And we’re starting to treat our bodies that way. No longer are we looking outside ourselves to find the connection. No longer are we finding the need to gather with large groups to fulfill our spiritual needs. Now we find those in a hike on one of the many trails in our area and eat strawberries in June and blackberries in August. We are becoming more discriminating when it comes to what we put into our mouths, into our bodies. Our connection to Mother Earth has deepened and we can hear her more clearly. Our commitment to restoring balance to Gaia is more profound.
We are beings having a human experience. We are stewards of Earth. But we are also Americans in a depression. We are members of this nation where the gap between the rich and the poor is widening every day, where access to healthcare and healthy food is becoming, every day, more of an entitlement and privilege.
There are no easy answers or solutions. It will take time to change the system of wealthcare the nation is entrenched in. But we are taking steps. Our consciousnesses are rising up through the haze of chemicals. There will be a day when chemical food is a thing of the past. I hope that day comes sooner rather than later.