Psychology for Dinner

February 16, 2018

I read about the Florida shooting while sitting in a playground on this bright sun shiny day.

The shooter is described as having significant depression, some kind of assault weapon that is easier to obtain in this country than a handgun, and as being "probably autistic or having a learning disability." He moved in with an acquaintance after his mother died. He is nineteen. His public defender describes him as a Broken Human Being.

Democrats push for renewed focus on gun control and "red flag laws." Republicans urge prayer.

Here I sit in a playground full of waddling, obese children eating orange shit in packages, emaciated-looking middle-schoolers, teenagers with serious acne, kids with all sorts of “behavioral challenges,” a little boy in combat gear with a battery-powered faux machine-gun who is “shooting” all his friends between slugging colorful shit from a soda bottle.

I can’t help but think: It’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.

I know it’s not politically correct to discuss issues of weight management and acne as if they are somehow related to homicidal mania, but in a way, they are - ALL health issues are, and exist on a spectrum of systems-breakdown of human health. And while often invisible, mental illness is just as physical as these eight-year-olds’ muffin tops.

Nobody is asking me, but there’s an enormous elephant in the living room: if we avoid confronting widespread malnutrition as a public health crisis, we will continue to face heartbreaking consequences.

We are what we eat! It’s not a cliche - it’s actual fact. And we feed our children corporate shit food that is not even fit for rats, let alone humans. We say, "it's normal for kids to be picky, and eat sugar every day, and shun vegetables." We confuse "normal" with "common". When we fail to speak out against the act of eating “food” that is addictive and nutrient poor, we fail our children, and our future children’s children - if they are someday able to conceive them.

And so, What We Eat As a culture is fueling not just obesity and food allergies and mental illness and inflammatory autoimmune disorders, but also a growing number of outlying, very ill individuals with truly horrific prognoses.

I sit here and cry, wishing I could cook dinner that would not only heal my own family, but could feed the world and help prevent these tragedies from happening again.

If only I knew what to cook.