After 4 years, I finally visited my paternal grandfather’s village a couple of months back. The village is definitely not like how I remember it from my youth. Gone are the joint families, gone are the daily meal times with 20+ people eating. And gone are the traditional methods of farming, of growing what is needed but growing what is sold. Gone are most of the fields of vegetables and paddy, with sugarcane being the only crop seen for miles around! Why sugarcane? Because we’re living in the sugar climate and that’s what is EASY to sell.
Where am I going with this?
There are striking parallels about us losing our way, in all pieces of the puzzle. As long as we stuck to the traditional foundations of farming, focusing on maintaining a balance with the environment, everything was good. But obviously, as a race, we think more is better. How much more yield can I eke out of the same area? Reduced crop rotation, more artificial fertilizers gave us short-term returns, but we will pay the price soon, as soil quality is dropping and the soil and water table has been altered irreversibly! The better the soil, the better the potential for the crop. If this sucks, the others simply cannot make up for it. This is the constant, and this needs to be taken care of - it is not a resource that can be continuously exploited. All the nutrients that the crop needs can be supplied via the soil, right? And the crop needs the right amount of water. “More is not better. Better is better”, as we keep saying! And obviously, it needs sunlight. And to tie up any loose ends, to ensure we replenish the nutrients we take away or that might be missing, we use fertilizers (manure). That’s about all am gonna go into (with the farming and sustainability etc). For more, you can look up Michael Pollan or Jared Diamond or any number of amazing folks who know more than me on this.
How does this apply to us?
The human body is remarkably resilient. You can keep doing stupid shit to it, and it will keep compensating for it, keeping you as functional as possible. Don’t keep your hips in proper alignment, don’t know to hinge, and zero core stability? No problem. It will stiffen up your hamstring, giving you artificial stability. And you will whine about hamstring tightness, stretch it every day but will get nowhere. But hey, for the issues you have, the body is ensuring you aren’t crumpled into the floor eh! Your body is a finite resource, so to speak, just like the soil. You better take care of it, put back as much or more to keep it in perfect shape. But we don’t learn the signals that the body gives us for doing stupid shit, and instead attribute it to other things (getting old etc.).
Instead, what do we do?
- We eat like crap. Instead of eating real food, eating what our body needs, we eat what is accessible, what is available, and what is easy. We are ruining a finite resource, eroding it slowly and steadily.
- We don’t train. Or worse, we decide to do as much of it as possible. “I ate a pizza yesterday, so today, I will workout AND go for a run.”. Astounding logic like this just fuels the flame.
- And we look for artificial fertilizers, in all or any form. Is there a fat-burner? Is there a magic pill out there that will let me eat what I want, not exercise, and sculpt my body? Can I eat junk all day for 5 years, and then do a cleanse?
How can you take care of it?
No surprises here. But the question is, will you get it? Will you fix? Will you do? Or will you read, nod, and get back to status quo?