Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I've been reading Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis during my "stay-cation". This book details the events leading up to the global financial crisis through interviews of experts in Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Germany, and the USA. In other words, this book is as far away from nutrition as you can possibly get.


In the chapter on the US, Michael Lewis interviews Dr. Peter Whybrow, a British neuroscientists at UCLA. Whybrow claims that the reasons behind our collective financial problems are the same as the reasons for the obesity epidemic. Evolutionarily, he postulates, we were not prepared to be American.

"The human brain evolved over hundres of thousands of years in an environment defined by scarcity.  It was not designed, at least originally, for an environment  of extreme abundance... '...our passions are still driven by the lizard core. We are set up to acquire as much as we can of things we perceive as scarce, particularly sex, safety, and food.' " (Page 203-204)

This same idea was brought up in the posts about HBO's show "The Weight of the Nation" where they explain the survival aspects of overeating and eating badly. Eating fat means storing fat, means storing energy. Our survival depended on having fat available to us. Of course, we've taken things to the extreme with ice cream sundaes equalling more than one's recommended daily caloric intake.


That's our national driver. I know I'm guilty of the same wants. Here I am, typing on a perfectly functional computer, and all I can think about is the newest version.

New. New. New.
More. More. More.

I can spend my time scrounging and wishing and hoping or I can be content. Content with my apartment that honestly doesn't have space to fit anything else. Content with my wardrobe, which has recently had the hole-y vestments purged. Content that I can sit here and preach about nutrition while I munch on a bunch of M&Ms. Content that I'm not starving. I have clean water. I have a home. I have a job. I have family and friends. My body will not be sold to traffickers. I can choose who I want to marry. I will not be imprisoned for having a dissenting opinion.

That's what America was supposed to be: freedom. Not this slavery to excess.

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