Don’t Eat the Food, Drink the Water, and you might not want to breathe, either 1

What’s going on?  Are we in the ending days that I remember from the sermons of my youth?
Who’s looking out for us?   For our health?  For our consumption? 
What can we consume without trepidation?
In this great bountiful world of ours, where we had everything we needed – vast varieties of flora, fish, and fauna  – we are depleting and destroying our resources.
What’s safe to eat or drink any more?  There are:

  • Hormones in birds – all birds.

  • Teflon residue throughout the world.

  • Cloned beef that the government doesn’t even have to tell us is entering the food supply.

  • Diseased beef that cannot walk being pushed and pulled into  the slaughter house for our consumption.

  • Synthetic hormones to increase milk production in cows.

 So, one thinks, become a vegetarian – surely that’s safe.  Not!

  • Genetically engineered corn intended for animals accidentally made it into the human supply (even though it would have still made it into human bodies since so many humans eat animals, right?) 

  • Ditto for soybeans that are genetically engineered.

  • Spinach was recalled and even washing it wouldn’t save us from the germs that had entered it through the stems.

They – our government, who’s supposed to be looking out for our interest – don’t even have to tell us we’re eating cloned meat. 
They – the states, don’t even have to test for pharmaceuticals in the water, therefore we don’t know as much as we might know about what’s in the water.  (In the recent media reports, the state of Massachusetts, where I live, hadn’t yet tested its water for pharmaceuticals.)
They – the media, choose when and how to report on these frightening realities of our food and environment.

We are what we eat and drink I haven’t even mentioned phlates – present in most children’s plastic toys and in many of the products that we use everyday, like lotion.  These have been shown to cause a whole spectrum of adverse effects in animals, including damage to the liver, reproductive and developmental degradation, and cancer.

Because so much of what we eat and drink is jacked up, it stands to reason that we’re jacked up, too.  (My mother, a teacher for many years in the St. Louis Public Schools,  swore that kids started acting differently, out-of-whack, with the advent of prepared formulas instead of the old Karo syrup, evaporated milk mixture that mothers prepared and sterilized at home.  Next to nursing, it was the best thing, because mothers had control over what they were feeding their babies.)

I keep reading that I should eat fish but then comes the caution not to eat too much because of the mercury in tuna, swordfish, etc.  At first this caution was only for women in their child-bearing years, now it’s said that everyone should restrict intake of “certain” fish.  When I see the difference between the appearance of farm-raised salmon (pale pink with color added) and wild-caught salmon (deep pink, almost red), I understand why fish intake should be limited.   Salmon used to be considered a delicacy.  Its seasonal availability made it all the more precious.

I have concluded we should eat as well as we can to make ourselves feel better and that we should exercise to make ourselves move better but that we shouldn’t do any of these things if we think it’s going to prevent the big C and other diseases because it’s not.  There are so many chemicals around us in the air we breathe, the things that surround us and in the food we consume – even organic – that dodging disease is a crap-shoot in many ways.  Two of my friends  – one who died from cancer and one who is losing a struggle with cancer now , were the healthiest people I knew.  They exercised daily, ate vegetarian and semi-vegetarian diets, didn’t smoke, meditated, and still one succumbed and the other is succumbing, decades before their lifestyle indicated that they should and much younger than their parents passed.  (And yes, I know that in life there are no guarantees, but still, their two stories give all of us who knew/know them pause.)

Many of us are also being done in by “the pressures, the pressures of the world today” as the Sounds of Blackness so eloquently sung. The pressures will do you in, slipping silently and persistently into your life, into your dreams, into your blood.  So, I meditate, and pray, and cook from scratch with plenty of fresh garlic and vegetables, and I rarely consume red meat, have cut back on the crackers that I love so much, only use canola and olive oils, filter my water but I don’t really believe that it will keep me free of catastrophic illness.  I am hoping that my grandmother’s genes and the vinegar that flows through my veins will give me longevity, and that my pulling away from the grid will lessen my stress.  I’m not counting on it, however.

I remain dismayed that my government isn’t doing what it is supposed to do – protect us, our food, water and air from harm. 

Holla if you hear me!

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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