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  • Writer's pictureKristin Cole

How Food Can Be Your Greatest Tool for Self-Empowerment

"People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are treated by the health industry, which pays no attention to food." ~Wendell Berry

In this unique moment, as we contemplate the divisive nature of our country on so many levels, it only makes sense that two are our largest industries (healthcare and food), are also at odds with one another. In the quote above, Berry points out the absurdity of this disconnect that has left our nation so sick, fragile, and susceptible, let alone unable to think for ourselves. I continue to be astounded by the contradicting facts that emerge within these industries that ultimately keep us in a state of chaos, confusion and ultimate relinquishing of power to those that "know best." They clearly have our best interest in mind when it comes to maintaining our health, right? Not so fast... Capitalism has a way of reigning supreme when it comes to these areas.

The Covid global pandemic has illuminated the singular focus of wellness - how to effectively fend off an unknown virus through bodily resilience and physical distancing. And how to build up natural immunity through our simple life choices. Not to mention the equally important but less talked about area of mental strength in a time when we can only take baby steps into a world of unknowns.

I believe that by shutting down our worlds outside the household and slowing everything down to unimaginable levels of presence, we've been gifted the most beautiful gift: self-awareness. Of listening deeply to our bodies' messages and determining what WE need individually to feel most rooted in the uncertainty. We've learned that maintaining good health is the greatest asset in a time where many who are not as fortunate may suffer at the sake of their ill health or lack of access to nourishing foods.

How can we take back control of our own health and trust our own voices which for so long have been stifled by contrived ads or diet fads that do not have us citizens in mind? But rather, selling of a product that may actually harm us? Why would the Food Industry (or the Beauty Industry, even) purposely sell us products laden with harmful chemicals? Ever wonder what those "natural flavors" are on a food label or that "fragrance" on your beauty products?

It's time we bring the decision of what to eat back to ourselves and to listen more deeply to the signs that nature is offering.

What season are we currently in?

What tastes most ripe and delicious, and thus, will be bursting with nutrients?

What products are being sold at the farmers markets and packed in CSA boxes?

Brooke Lark / Unsplash

Let's listen to our farmers, and especially Wendell Berry, who have tuned in to the inextricable and positive links among food, health, and the land, and who can help lead the way towards a healthier food system. Let's stand behind this movement and show the authorities who, in fact, knows best for themselves.

As a nation, we must put our collective energy behind culinary medicine, of utilizing food as the truest form of healing: for our community, our planet, and ourselves. Only in realizing the true potential of healthy foods to maintain our own wellbeing will we able to take back our own bodies from the systems that keep us trapped. Ingesting this bounty of natural foods has the power to bring our health to new levels, forming a beautiful loop of positive connectivity.


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