By the age of one, how many times had modern medicine saved your ass?
What about by the age twenty? How about now?
How many times has nature tried to kill you? Strep, staph, weather, tsunamis, all the vaccine preventable illnesses, tooth decay, allergies that range from life-threatening to “goddamnit, it’s spring and the trees are fucking,” and whatever the fuck Gwyneth Paltrow is getting stung by bees to cure.
And the goddamn flu.
Without modern medicine, how much worse off would your life be?
If you go back to doing all things naturally, a tiny emergency turns into a big one. A long term chronic illness turns into a quick death sentence.
Say you got appendicitis a thousand years ago. Odds were that you would writhe in pain for a day or two, your appendix would have ruptured and your doctors would have given you a battery of herbs (and maybe opium because obviously). All natural treatment to an all natural problem would have left you dead. Naturally.
Vani Hari transformed into the Food Babe via a case of appendicitis that she erroneously blamed on her diet. She also claims that she healed all her random health issues by “going natural” afterwards, but how well would that have worked for the appendicitis itself? “Can you use a scalpel that’s just splinter of unicorn horn, or maybe a sharp piece of quartz separated from the earth made via grinding a rock slowly against another rock? Or better yet for no human intervention in the scalpel making process, a sharp rock birthed from the planet via the splintering of the Earth from the movement of tectonic plates? And for anesthetic, could you just give me a large-ish chunk of kale to bite down on? Pain is just toxins leaving the body.”
Who are we kidding, we all know she wouldn’t use a those tectonic birthed rocks. Tectonic? That’s clearly a toxin.
Nature would have left Vani- appendix, toxins, great hair and all- behind from the pack to suffer and die.
And that’s just with an acute medical issue. What happens when you have the oft-demonized-by-the-natural-crowd… chronic illness?
If you ask anybody who promotes ‘natural,’ chronic illnesses are a symptom of drug companies trying to make money. They’ll tell you that we didn’t have all these chronic illnesses when your grandmother was a kid and that chronic illnesses mean that we’re sicker than ever now.
I have a chronic illness and, as a nurse told me at a recent check-up when I was going over my medication and symptom list, “you don’t look like you could possibly be that sick.” It’s true, I don’t. When you hear that someone has chronic illnesses, what’s your gut reaction? Sallow complexion, overweight, immobile, sniffly and possibly even bed laden?
I do things like rock climb, weight lift, cook most of my meals from scratch, and I even do yoga. Namaste, motherfuckers.
So if I’m doing all those things, how am I “ill?”
I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. If you’ve heard of it, you probably think of it as “the flexibility disorder.” My joints are really flexible, which, admittedly, can be fun for some things.
(You’re welcome or I’m sorry.)
The next obvious question though; how is it a disorder if it just means you can do a split?
I’ve had my share of joint issues (shoulders, hips, lower back, and even my ribs have had dislocation issues). But for me, the worst part has been a permanent headache on the left side of my head. The first eight months of it were hell before we found our how to treat it, and eventually we landed on a seizure med and an anti-inflammatory. It’s really well controlled now.
It all begs the question… What would life had been like if I’d been born fifty years ago? A hundred? Five hundred?
Nature had no intention of letting me live.
The type of headache pain that I experience is similar to trigeminal neuralgia, otherwise known as the suicide disease. Before we had modern medications to manage it, people didn’t stay alive long through the pain. One day of terrible pain is tolerable. Looking forward to a lifetime of pain that severe will make you reconsider if you want to keep breathing.
I absolutely did try every “natural” treatment for this. I went organic. I went vegan. I even- and this is a dark time in my life- tried going paleo. At one point I was so scared that I was sick because of the “unnatural” ingredients in food that I looked at every single label and if I saw soy, canola, wheat, anything that I was convinced touched a GMO or wasn’t organic? I didn’t buy it.
I even tried cutting out Diet Coke. Dark times indeed, kids.
Know what fixed my headaches? Medicine.
It wasn’t that doctors hundreds of years ago hadn’t discovered the Food Babe’s favorite painkiller, turmeric. It’s not that I’ve been exposed to environmental toxins or that I haven’t taken a glucosamine supplement (which, I assure the well intentioned reader who’s considering emailing me about it, is not going to help this disorder). It was that they didn’t have anti-seizure meds that made the headache disorder truly manageable. It was that we didn’t have equipment to see the joint issues clearly or PCRs to do genetic testing. It was polio, smallpox, earthquakes, exposure, famine, and goddamn bee stings that killed us.
It was a severe lack of ability to fight nature that let us die.
Want to fight cancer with nature? In most cases, nature gave you cancer, either via sun exposure, genetics, or sometimes via a virus. Nature will probably let you die. Hear a blogger say they beat cancer without chemo and did it all naturally? They probably left out that they had surgery. Oh, it’s just the chemo that they think is unnatural? I promise you, being knocked unconscious, having your breathing and heartbeat controlled by an anesthesiologist, having a tumor removed precisely by a surgeon, and being sewn up in a manner that prevents sepsis is not natural. Surgery and chemo is a better bet than “natural.”
Want to fight depression and anxiety? There are going to be people who tell you that natural cures like essential oils have helped to de-stress. Sure, I’ll believe that essential oils have helped. That might be possible. But ask them how pressing twenty pounds of rosemary into three ounces of pungent oil happens in nature. Ask what they thought cures for mental illnesses were like before we had those evil pharmaceuticals. The options included warehousing people and lobotomies. Antidepressants and our other pharmaceuticals are definitely not perfect, but “natural” was not a better option.
Want to lose weight naturally? The people at ItWorks will tell you that they can help. Yes, truly, a bunch of random herb extracts somehow embedded into a flexible plastic wrap strapped onto your stomach is more natural than eating more vegetables and going for a run. And ask the good people at Plexus about their overpriced bullshit natural shakes.
(Okay, maybe natural is better on this one.)
But even then, what does “natural” mean? Does it mean you go out and scrounge for your own food in a field hoping that there’s no shortage of nuts and berries or that you rely on our now much better farming system that’s borderline famine-proof thanks to technological advancements?
Stop thinking about nature as a wonderful source of everything that you need in life. Things like the Paleo diet, the organic movement, and the anti-vaxxers all earn my ire for the same reason: they present themselves as healthy, natural options for people. Unfortunately, they ignore the realities of the natural life. Paleolithic man didn’t have access to a grocery store with refrigerated foods, pasteurized organic yak’s ghee, grass-fed chicken eggs, and he was dying of vaccine preventable diseases. Paleolithic man, if he survived past infancy, might have been thinner than us because he literally was running around all day trying to survive nature.
Paleolithic man, if he could come back from the dead now, would goddamn kill you for your Cocoa Puffs. He would laugh at your stupid fucking kale because he wants calories and your kale does not have it and he needs calories to go run down a bison tomorrow.
Paleo woman thinks your homebirth is idiocy because, while you’re trying to do all things naturally, she’s just thinking “there are ways to live through this- and then vaccines to keep the baby alive- and people are turning it down?”
So think about how many times modern science had saved you by the age of one, or up until this point in your life. Think about how different your life has become because of things that aren’t natural. The advancements in the telephone, medicine, internet porn…
Think about that for a few minutes. And then stop goddamn advocating for nature. Because nature is not advocating for you.