Resilience > Efficiency*
Like many of us, I grew up in a world where mass scale was seen as the only possible solution for the future. I can hear my Grandfather, who was a wheat farmer in Nebraska, telling me that America must feed the world. That it is America's responsibility to produce enough food so that the rest of the world can eat.
As the years have passed I have seen the benefit of this scale. Flights across the Atlantic Ocean seem to pass a little faster, there are more dairy-free dessert options at Whole Foods, and my phone has the capability of a 2005 desktop computer.
These advances in technology, agriculture, and medicine are beneficial but at what cost? Any student who stayed awake in their physics 101 class remembers the basic concept that with every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction. Is it possible that our society is starting to see these equal and opposite reactions?
If we just assess the last 2.5 years and look at the United States mortality rate to COVID compared to other less developed countries the numbers don't seem to add up. How can a country who spends the most on healthcare compared to any other country have one of the highest mortality rates? I believe this is a direct result of America's focus on efficiency rather than resilience (John Hopkins Mortality Tracker)
It is evident that those who spent the previous months, years, or decades building resilience had a much better response to COVID than those that didn’t. This can be seen with the poor outcomes of those who were obese or had hypertension / heart disease (Comorbidities and the risk of severe or fatal outcomes associated with coronavirus disease 2019).
These disease states are oftentimes associated with poor nutrition and lifestyle behaviors aka building the resilience of the body.
How YOU Build ResilienceFrom our first email back in March 2020 we have been trying to communicate with our community that the focus of one’s energy should be spent building themselves up. That your resources should be focusing on making yourself as resilient as possible. The primary work that we do is helping people build their resilience. We help people know exactly how they can build themselves up to improve their health and optimize their life. This is by: - Avoiding certain foods- Incorporating others- Understanding toxins in the environment and how to excrete them- Individualizing supplements/nutrients- Working on one’s spiritual, mental, and emotional patterns This is holistic medicine.
When I take a step back and analyze how our society can become more resilient, so next time our society faces a pandemic we can have a much better outcome. The first thing that comes to mind is our food supply. Our food supply needs some serious support. This can be felt with the rising cost of food at Whole Foods or the lack of certain products on the shelf.
The average morsel of food that each American consumes travels over 1200 miles (2003 Michigan State Study)
We can begin to see the problem with our food supply resilience when there are so many miles that each zucchini, cracker, or apple has to travel before it is eaten. These long miles create fragility within the system because they are relying on so many inputs from external sources. Not to mention these long miles create opportunities for food to spoil which is one of the driving factors behind why 40% of the food supply in the US gets thrown away (The Facts About Food Waste)
Because of the numerous inputs and thousands of miles that this food travels, what nutrients are left in it? A study that we often mention is the analysis of the nutrition of certain foods for every decade starting in 1940’s. For example, this study found that the vitamin A content in oranges has decreased by 20x from 1940 to 2010. (The Organic Center Research)
How can our planet be resilient when the soil is completely void of any nutrients? Soil health is planet health and planet health is human health. If our soils aren’t nourished how can we be nourished?
Hope for the Future However, there is HOPE.For the first time in my lifetime people are talking about purchasing food from local and regional producers. Every week when I walk through the farmers market there is a new passionate farmer or new local product popping up. There are more people than ever recognizing the importance of sourcing foods and products from local purveyorsWhether it is the rising cost of food or people are just more passionate about supporting local businesses I believe this is our path to a more resilient future. We don’t know what is going to happen in the future with rising inflation and supply chain fragility. But, as we reflect on our approach to the future we are more confident than ever that NOW is the time to focus on resiliency over efficiency. Efficiency will come as a result of a resilient system. But, you can’t be efficient with a system, person, or planet that doesn’t exist.
Where do you start to build resilience within yourself?
First get to know where your food comes from. Really get to know this. Use our resources. Go to the farmers market. Meet the people who are actually growing food in your area so you don’t have to rely on sources that come from thousands of miles away that are already showing us fragility.
Next take five minutes after reading this to think about what aspects of your health can you implement to become more resilient?
Can you move more?
Can you eat better?
Can you be in nature more?
Can you breathe more?
Can you pray more?
Can you open up your heart more?
Can you love more?
Where can you start to take action to build resilience in your health?
You have the capability to create change TODAY.
I’m more excited than ever when it comes to the future. We are finally starting to have conversations about resilience rather than efficiency. When we start to build resilience with our health, our soil, and our society there is hope for a better future.
Dr. Alex Orton, ND
N A T U R O P A T H I C D O C T O R
F O U N D E R & O W N E R