Reflections During A Pandemic
I was looking through some of my old holistic nutrition assignments and came across my answer to a discussion board question – “Are we as a nation healthier today than 100 years ago? Why or why not?” Given its relevance to our current situation, I thought I would share it with you.
"I know that we as a nation are living longer on average than we were 100 years ago, but the true health of our people is debatable. Sure, it doesn’t appear as many people are dying of acute/infectious diseases now as they did 100 years ago given that the “Great Influenza’’ of 1918 spread like a wildfire and wiped out 50 – 100 million people across the globe that year! However, we do still have infectious diseases such as the flu claiming around 50,000 lives per year and new strains are popping up all the time. While we’ve had many medical advances over the past 100 years that seems to have warded off a pandemic, if you do any research on the matter, you will learn that researchers are not confident we are in the clear. That is scary and I hope it never comes to that!
Nonetheless, we are a nation of chronically ill people. It doesn’t seem to matter which way you try to frame it, the evidence is clear that chronic diseases are on the rise. Part of this may be due to the fact that people are living long enough to show signs and be diagnosed, but certainly it seems a large factor is our standard American diet (SAD). It is nice that we have medications for people who are suffering from various ailments, but on the other hand, many of the medications come with side effects and cause vitamin and mineral deficiencies and other issues elsewhere in the body. For many, they live a longer but limited and much poorer life as a result of their chronic diseases as they get stuck in the pharmaceutical trap.
This question really is a loaded one as so many things come to mind when I think about how healthy we really are… I mean, I can think of so many unhealthy things we are doing as a nation besides just eating overly processed junk food on a regular basis. Sitting behind computer screens all day at office jobs, looking down and fidgeting on phones constantly, keeping wi-fi devices in pockets, getting constant radiation via Wi-Fi signals that are all around us, not moving enough, not getting enough sunshine, isolating ourselves from human contact believing that social media is just as good as connecting in person…but the thing is, allowing this negativity to enter my own brain and sharing it with you all also feels very unhealthy and perhaps it is! So, while I pointed out many things that likely are true, let’s do ourselves a favor and keep it positive. Perhaps we can take this and commit to turning it around. We have the power to positively influence others in making healthy changes. Let’s do it!"
I can remember when I wrote this in September 2018 and I was not aware of the pandemic that swept the globe in 1918 until then. For the assignment, I decided to do a little research on that timeframe to see if there was anything notable in regard to our health and was shocked to read about the magnitude of how many lives were lost during that pandemic. Like most people, I don’t think I fully believed I would experience anything remotely like it, but here we are quarantining ourselves for the sake of our loved ones and the rest of humanity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite our circumstances, I am doing my best to stay positive and my hope is that we will emerge better as a human race than when this all started. There are so many acts of kindness taking place in our communities right now from fundraisers for people in the service industry to large scale food drives and people singing and dancing together while “social distancing” in their neighborhoods.
I know that many of us are finding ourselves out of work for the time being and it is definitely scary, but on the bright side, we have more time to do some of the things we’ve been putting off. Have you been wanting to eat healthier or learn how to cook better? Is there a hobby or a skill you can pick up? What about learning a new language or starting a journal to document your thoughts?
With grocery stores having difficulty keeping stocked, this is a perfect opportunity to plant a garden or get to know more about your local farms and sign up for a CSA (community supported agriculture). While we can’t physically be around everyone we care about, some are getting better quality time with their immediate families. A year and a half ago, I saw Wi-fi and many of our modern technologies as contributors to our ill health, but in times like these it really is a lifesaver to keep us connected to the people we are unable to visit and for that, I am grateful.
Today was a beautiful, sunny day, so I took a walk through my neighborhood. My senses were completely awakened by the scent of freshly bloomed flowers and trees, the amazing rainbow of colors and the sound of birds chirping all around. For the time it was easy to forget about the worries of the world and just immerse myself in all that nature has to offer. In my opinion, it doesn’t get much better than that!
*This blog is for entertainment purposes only. The content included is my opinion and is not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure disease.
Liggett, E. (2018). Are we as a nation healthier today than 100 years ago? Why or why not? [Online discussion board for NUT 309: Topics in Holistic Nutrition]. Retrieved from