Modern advancements have been a literal God-send to all who live today. Inventions, knowledge acquirement, and technical capabilities are miraculous in all aspects of looking at them. We have certainly been blessed with these developments that was not possible a mere 100 years or so ago. That, notwithstanding these advances, we as a population suffer from some of the most severe, chronic, and degenerative diseases that were completely unknown to recent generations.
Sicknesses that were rare or unheard of just a century ago are most prevalent now. Ravaged with the likes of autoimmune deficiencies, diabetes, cancers, chornic fatigue, heart disease and fibromyalgia. Now, it might be that we have the best diagnostic capabilities, and we are able to detect even the smallest of conditions, but I hold that what we are now experiencing with all our health conditions are a by-product of the way we have chosen to live in our society. That with all these advancements, has come chemicals, lifestyle processes, and sickness inducing circumstances that weren’t possible in ages past.
Spike In Diseases the Last 50 Years
Most assuredly, many diseases can be traced to the environment that we live in, and how well we can detect even the most obscure syndrome can be factors in this uptick. Our modern world, and how we all choose to live in it is another factor. With modern stresses, lifestyle choices, and eating habits can assist in the developing of these now-common ailments. All contributing to the depressing of the immune systems and making us susceptible to conditions and sicknesses floating around us. (And we will leave the recent penchant of governmental entities messing with mass infectious diseases aside at the moment – because that is a rabbit hole that deserves it’s own article)
These factors would explain why we all have seen such a major spike in degenerative diseases such a breast and prostate cancers, type 2 diabetes, strokes and heart disease. Oh we cannot forget the likes of Crohn’s disease, or Non-Alchoholic Fatty Liver disease. Allergies are more prevalent also. In early 1900’s pneumonia, Tuberculosis (consumption) and malnutrition were the leading causes of death ( among the likes of smallpox outbreaks) Life expectancy for both genders were in the mid to late 40’s. Infant mortality rates were near 1 in 7 of dying before the age of 1.
Research into vaccinations of the before mentioned smallpox, and polio, and the discovery of penicillin helped people to live longer, which has now developed its own set of problems for communities when it comes to health issues. Post industrial revolution, the production and consumption of processed and fast food has skyrocketed, along with a sedentary lifestyle.
Additionally, it is no longer the norm to grow our own food. We are truly, what they say, that we are what we eat. Instead of getting quality food to fuel our systems, we prefer our drive-through lunches and quick microwaveable highly-processed dinners. The human body was not created to metabolize high volumes of vegetable oil and high fructose corn syrup — the main ingredients found in our industrial food supply. In addition, we were also not built to live such sedentary lives. Yes, things are very different than they once were.
It was and still is poor lifestyle choices that ultimately result in millions of lives lost each year to heart disease and other modern lifestyle-related illnesses.
So, while on the one side of the dial, science and tech have allowed us to live longer more productive lives, ‘advances’ in our tech with our food supply chains, our daily actions of living (dishwashers, clothes dryers, a.k.a. modern conveniences) and various other ‘tools’ have turned our nation into the drive thru society that we are – making us all sicker, and prone to diseases.
Add to that, we don’t move as much as we had to in the past, we eat too much for this modern lifestyle, and eat the wrong foods WITH modern chemicals that are not good for our bodies which stresses the systems each of us have. Then we have not taught ourselves or our children how best to handle the stresses of modern living, and we start developing these newly “found” conditions at far earlier ages. Dangerous and life-threatening conditions that can plague us and take the joy from living.
What Did Our Ancestor Get Right that We Are Not?
That is a simple answer: plenty. Here is a short list of what they did that we no longer do:
They grew their own food
Cooked with whole foods of high quality
Rarely snacked or had sweets at hand
Engaged in physical labor each day
Went to bed early and got rest
Got up early to begin their day
Ate a traditional diet (nothing processed)
Led a simple life with stresses known for ages
Did not have electronics or other outside contributing factors
The answer to a long, healthy and disease-free life rests in how we treat our body (Sounds simple enough, no?). We succumb to lifestyle-related illnesses today because of the lifestyle that we choose to live. Our ancestors had plenty of threats to their health, but they were mostly external threats and things that they had very little control over or that they could see coming from a mile away.
We have the extreme advantage over all the ages that have ever lived of being able to live in a world with clean water, advanced emergency medical care and access to tools that make our life very easy compared to our ancestors. We should be the most productive with art and creativity, with knowledge and learning, with societal interactions and personal actions.
How healthy you are depends a great deal on the daily choices that you make. Be how Longfellow once said –