None of it is news to you, living in California where it all began, but I am ineluctably drawn to all things New Age these days.
Thirty years after it became mainstream, I am discovering organic foods, holistic medicine, vitamin therapy and, most importantly, all things Green.
The joys of living in North America!
After many years spent in countries where the populace was primarily focused on getting any food at all, I am quite overcome with what is available as alternative food to Superstore and Wal-Mart.
It all began with the discovery of two magazines, ALIVE, and VIVA, that someone had donated to the library. I took them home, attracted to the promise of recipes.
I found myself reading every word on every page — an entire afternoon spent on a voyage of discovery to a place of which I’d heard rumours but had never explored.
My fascination knows no bounds; I went online to investigate window blinds promising to be “PVC-free, earth-friendly, recyclable, and with no off-gassing.”
This new world, with its own language, is a costly place to inhabit: said window shades started at $475 for a modest-sized one.
Even living in a trailer, I calculated replacing our blinds with these environmentally proper ones would cost us about $4500.
Material made from bamboo is being heavily touted; bamboo grows quickly and without needing pesticides or herbicides. It is one of the most sustainable and useful plants growing, along with hemp.
A hemp shirt for Pete cost me almost $100, a sum that made me decide my own hemp shirt would have to be purchased another time.
Bedding and towels made from bamboo are not cheap in spite of the ease of cultivation; about $3,000 would see us sleeping and drying off in a way demonstrating our love of the Earth.
Wool or cotton rugs are the way to go, any other rug material being earth-unfriendly and toxic to humans and their pets. The wool must be specially cleaned, the cotton does not wear as well and the good rugs are far more expensive than the bad rugs.
Regarding furniture, obviously wood is preferable to plastic (what about the trees?); upholstery must not contain stuffing that is artificial and toxic — cotton, feathers, or even a sort of grass will be best, and of course covered with wool, bamboo, hemp or cotton.
There is some debate about leathers, feathers, and wool; people who are vegan disapprove mightily of animal products being used for anything other than the animal itself.
This raised a question for me: are they eating vegetables grown in natural compost containing animal feces? Could one suggest their soups may be feculent?
If we were to replace the furniture that came with the trailer, abiding by the rules of green living, it would cost us close to $25,000.
This cost could be increased by the purchase of furniture that is ergonomically designed, making it healthier for us to sit on.
Everything produced before this new knowledge became generally available is bad, bad, bad!
Even paints made without a milk base are poison on the wall.
Armed with this information, a tour of our trailer revealed a frightening amount of potentially death-causing substances. I don’t know how we have survived as long as we have in this environment.
It must be the martinis warding off an all-out invasion of toxic matter into our poor vulnerable bodies.
There’s more, much more, one could do to improve one’s household, but moving on to personal hygiene I found another treasure trove of products, again all considerably more expensive that the usual drugstore stuff.
We are told many of the Hollywood folk are devoted to using these substances, to go with their Earth-friendly homes and vehicles.
There are photographs of these beautiful people accompanying the articles about their caring lifestyles, in which they admonish those of us who continue to live in a manner exhibiting our churlishness about the Earth, our home.
Then there are the health goodies. What a wealth of things to buy! The consumer culture is undeterred by the green tide; it’s simply changed direction. Nike still charges over $100 for a pair of running shoes, but now they use a glue that is kinder to the environment.
Most of the items for good health were utterly unknown to me; before being informed by ALIVE and VIVA, I had no idea of some of the medical conditions I could be suffering as a result of my negligent lifestyle.
I’d never heard of “celiac” but now having read about it in detail, I am fairly certain I have it. I think Pete may have it, too, and there was evidence to suggest he may also be in “andropause.”
The good news is, for every new disease or condition one may realize, there is a cure, albeit a pricey one.
Many of the cures may be effected by the use of the suggested remedies, but for those uncertain of the outcome, there are clinics.
These are often situated in marvelous tropical locations, the facilities boasting incredible luxuries to be enjoyed whilst being cured.
For everything there is a panacea, and a good detox, of which there is a bewildering variety on offer, is the place to begin.
One can detox specific organs, or do a total cleanse. These present interesting possibilities, but I find them somewhat frightening as there is no mention of exactly what form the detoxing would take: does one sweat? defecate? vomit?
Or are there ways heretofore unknown to me for the human body to rid itself of nasties?
Following a successful detox, one maintains one’s newfound health by supplementing all that expensive, organic, non-GMO food with expensive, organic, non-GMO vitamins, herbal tinctures and near-magical potions.
All previous gustatory pleasures are to be relinquished, along with alcohol and tobacco of any sort.
A good beginning to every morning is a drink containing a powder that while rendering your breakfast a vile green colour is providing your body with pure nutrients. Use it to wash down a fistful of various vitamins.
Probiotics are a must, as is a daily dose of marine phytoplankton. Garlic is good for you, and most of us find it delicious, but for those who don’t, or for those who cannot go to a job smelling of it, there is kyolic garlic, odourless, in capsules.
Udo’s QH Plus is a necessity for continued good health, as is Chia Pro.
It goes on and on. So many are the pills and potions suggested that should one take all of them there would be no room for actual food. In fact, there would be no time to do more than take the pills at the recommended timed intervals.
There would certainly be no money left to do anything but sit, between bouts of pill-swallowing, garbed in hemp, in one’s planet-friendly furniture shaded from the outdoors by non-off-gassing blinds.
My conclusion after delving into the shallow end of this pool of information is that unless one is monstrously rich, one simply cannot afford to be healthy. Even pets of the modestly financed must resign themselves to a low standard of wellbeing.
Like all peasant classes before us, we will go gentle into that good night. Gone are the days when we could be distracted by circuses, the arenas where the lions and the Christians met, and while religion is no longer the opiate of the masses, television is.
Give us the little blue box, our toxic couches, our Kraft Dinners and Oreos, our beer and the occasional outing to McDonald’s. Obese bodies clad in polyester tracksuits, feet encased in Crocs knock-offs, we will obligingly slide off to our grey and early deaths without a fuss.
On this note, I am going to open a Dr. Pepper (how bad can it be if it’s branded by a doctor?), open a bag of Cheezies (made in Canada with real cheese) and watch TV until happy hour.
Heather Bennett is a writer who lives in Watson Lake.