Americans have never been moderate in making choices. It’s either all one way or the other.

 Sugar – We decided to look the other way as food companies began loading everything from toothpaste to French fries with sugar to make it “taste good” and lulled us into a fierce dependence on things sweet. Sugar is no longer just the first or dominant ingredient in dessert.

 Antibiotics – When penicillin came in, it too was added to a toothpaste, called Dentocillin, until people began to worry that bacteria would become resistant to it. Researchers went on to develop other antibiotics. People demanded antibiotics for colds and flu, despite the fact that viruses resist them. Some physicians complied mainly to keep their business. Otherwise, clients would find a more “cooperative” doctor. Going overboard meant bacteria kept catching up and becoming immune. Today, people fear hospitalizations for fear they’ll pick up one of the virulent, antibiotic resistant bacterial infections in the hospital.

Diabetes – used to be something rare, has now become a common problem with our obesity epidemic, brought on by our appetite stimulating, sugar laced diet. People used to buy sodas in a liter bottle or a six pack. Now, check the cases moving through supermarket lines.

Shopping carts – were modest sized compared with today’s fare. At a recent trip to Market Basket, I was shocked to see huge carts piled high with boxes of foods guaranteed to not only stuff families with too many questionably nutritious foods, but also generate more trash for our overloaded dumps.

 In this land of plenty, we continue to choose more of everything rather than choose quality foods that actually nourish us and keep us healthy. 

With phones – in just the last fifty years, we’ve gone from party line phones that kept us reliably in touch with what was happening in the community to phones that keep us minutely in touch, connect with the internet, send text messages, and take pictures. We’ve generated a whole new set of health problems as we move onward. Our eyes, ears and brains are being challenged with new conditions from holding electronic gear close to our heads. Some people spend so much time text messaging, they require orthopedic surgery to wrists, hands, and arms as bodies yell for help. 

Daily, 20% off ads appear in my email, encouraging me to buy more of everything with 20% off the inflated prices of everything from office supplies to clothes, appliances and, of course, electronics.

 Our struggle to Stop the Northern Pass may well be the impetus we need for a major turning point in going all out to keep each other well. We’re certainly learning how to band together and encourage everyone’s efforts to claim our rights to good health and our pristine land. Who knows, we may just keep right on cleaning up other issues that threaten our health as well.


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