I think Guatemala should start a fair trade relationship with North Americans. Fair Trade is such a one-way street. Why are we doing all the helping? I think it’s time to switch it up a bit.
I know for a fact that Guatemalans could help us in a LOT of ways.
For instance, stress. It’s been proven that stress contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and immune deficiencies. Do we even know how to relax anymore? We don’t stop. We’re constantly moving! When I visited Guatemala a few years ago, one of the first things my friend Edwin told me was to take off my watch. Things move at a slower pace in Latin America. I loved it.
But what I really want to talk about is food. (Again.) How often do you sit down to eat at a table? Not a desk or a recliner. A kitchen table. Many of us eat on-the-go, barely taking the time to sit down and spend time with our families. This isn’t so in Guatemala. Every night my friends and I sat down for a huge home-cooked meal made from local ingredients. This was incredibly unusual for me. As a college student, most of my eating habits up to this point consisted of canned, microwaved, and to-go foods. And if you really think about that for a moment, it’s bizarre. We live in a world where most of our food is doused in cancer-contributing chemicals, stuck in artificial packaging, and reheated with energy waves. Do you even eat food that isn’t grown hundreds of miles away?
According to the World Health Organization, “In developed countries, the probability of being diagnosed with cancer is more than twice as high as in developing countries. The main reasons for the greater cancer burden of affluent societies are the earlier onset of the tobacco epidemic, the earlier exposure to occupational carcinogens, and the Western nutrition and lifestyle.“ These experts are expecting a 50% rise in world cancer rates by 2020. The reason? Developing countries are beginning to eat like western societies! (Read the article here.) Obesity and unhealthy diets are on the rise world-wide, and we’re helping. That’s not fair at all. (Especially since 1/3 of cancers are preventable through diet alone!)
Excuse the lecture. But the good news is that you can be fair to yourself and your family… starting today. Out of all the items the Mustard Seed sells, I love our cookbooks the most. They extend Fair Trade from the developing world to the developed world. It’s there to help us. It’s there to help you. One particular book, “More-with-Less,” explains how we can live and cook more simply. It’s full of recipes designed to use locally grown foods – which help you to eat less processed foods, more vegetables, and moderate portions of meat products. (These are things developing countries do naturally!) But enough for now. Do yourself a favor and spend the next week being more conscious about what you put into your body. We’ll continue this next week with Part 2!