“Given that human capital is a prerequisite for success in the global economy, U.S. economic competitiveness is unsustainable with poorly prepared students feeding into the workforce.” Kirsch, 2007
There are ways to wage war on a people without employing armies of weapons and soldiers. Devastating economic failure can be very effective OR the spread of lethargy and inertia through the body of a society can act as a cancer destroying the brains of a people. It is not a new story and many once powerful nations can boast of an equally spectacular decline.
Americans are a proud people and at one time America was considered a great nation, one that led the world towards individual freedom and independence. A mere 234 years old, America is equivalent to an 18-year-old teenager in terms of a country’s life span, with all the energy, creativity, aggression, hormones and testosterone a teenager brings to living. We even eat like a teenager: quickly, on the run, with no thought for what we consume, where the food comes from or who/what suffers in the making of said food. America rocks the world with new technological inventions and the third world fights us mano-o-mano to preserve their independence, but we do not listen because we know it all; plus, they have what we need to run our toys: oil, lithium, water, and land.
Now, I am as intrigued by a good conspiracy theory as much as the next person, but as I look around at my country, I have to wonder at the virus destroying America from within. I am reluctant to use the ubiquitous “they” as the cause. As in “they” are behind the destruction of our country. Decline can be caused by any number of factors, and once established, may allow for manipulation by the malevolent “they” or merely be pushed towards the inevitable implosion by each citizen’s self-destructive addictions, apparently stronger than the desire to live a disciplined way of life.
With the decline of a quality food supply comes the inevitable decline in our most important natural resource, our brainpower. Your brain’s ability to function is primarily dependent on glucose, omega-fatty acids, water, vitamins and minerals. It accounts for 2 percent of our body weight, and consumes roughly 20 percent of our daily calories. What it demands is a constant supply of glucose not in the form of sugar-laden junk foods, but rather unrefined carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. Without these foods, the brain can exhibit confused thinking, depression, aggression, and anti-social behavior.
Perhaps we are seeing the results of this brain lack in American students dropping to 22nd in math, 19th in science and 49th for literacy worldwide, on a diet of refined sugar, bagels, pizza, burgers and French fries. Or perhaps it reveals itself more shockingly on the other end of the age spectrum with 5.4 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, which by 2050 could reach 16 million people. Further proof reveals that over 27 million, or 10 percent of the American population are taking anti-depressants, and these often come along with a cornucopia of pharmaceutical medications, each with a list of not-so-pleasant side effects.
The American citizen has entrusted their well-being to a rag tag conglomerate of corporate food and pharmaceutical scientists and the results are self evident. The battle being waged in America should be to protect our food supply from further contamination and to encourage the return of whole foods to America’s schools, corporate cafeterias, food markets, and home kitchens. Feed the people’s brains not their widening bellies, but it is up to each individual American to take the first step and then pass the word.