One Earth

One Earth

I spent the whole of last week lying in a hospital bed, fighting the unbelievable pain of ulcerative colitis, a disorder I did not know I had and have no intention of keeping, thank you very much. A bit of a jolt to a healer, to be sure. But a challenge I have promised myself to rise to.

A few days after being released, still exhausted and sore, I made my way to the local chain grocery store to try to find something to eat. I was put on a “low-residue” diet, no fiber for a few weeks. As someone accustomed to eating only whole organic foods, no processing, no pesticide or chemical fertilizer, shopping at a traditional store was going to be a challenge. (I didn’t have the strength for the two-and-a-half-hour round-trip drive to Whole Foods.) I spent over half an hour in the store, and came out with about six items. It was a wholly frustrating experience.

I have been an advocate of whole, unadulterated food and sustainable farming for many years. Clean food is not only essential for the health of the individual, it is essential to the health of our earth. When we poison our land and water and air with the hundreds of thousands of chemicals we have created since WWII (yes, hundreds of thousands) in an effort to somehow improve our lives, we in reality cause deep-seated damage.

Autism and brain tumors and all manner of auto-immune disorders are on the rise, as are depression and anxiety—all environmental illnesses. Our elder cats are diabetic, and we accept this as though it is an inevitable consequence of old age, rather than realizing that their food is killing them. Our dogs have allergies and stomach disorders and suffer from anxiety and depression, and again we rarely look at their food.

Our horses are increasingly insulin resistant, overweight, with metabolic problems resulting from overtaxed thyroids trying desperately to preserve normal body function in a swirling cloud of toxins—both from food and water.

Since my attack, I have learned that I may be gluten intolerant, that the allergy causes the body to attack the enzymes in the gluten, inadvertently attacking the body itself. This is not normal. Something is amiss. Gluten is everywhere, it seems. We are all on overload in this processed-food world. The other possibility is that I have been poisoned with heavy metals, such as arsenic, which is prevalent in much water in the Midwest, I have recently learned. It enters your body through your skin as you shower, bonds with your cells. When you have reached a danger point, your immune system kicks in to attack the intruder, but has to attack your cells as well.

I stood in that large, well-lit grocery store, filled with aisles and aisles of so-called “food,” processed into oblivion, filled with artificial coloring and flavoring and preservatives, and I became unbearably sad. “Food,” I said to my companion, “should nourish the body and the spirit. There is nothing to eat here. This store is full of poison.” An overstatement, to be sure. But not by much.

And so I write this today, to urge everyone to be mindful of our sacred earth. If we care for her, she will care for us. She will care for our beloved animal companions and all of the equally beloved creatures of the wild. Maybe part of the lesson of these difficult times is to help us to take a step back, to a time when we were closer to nature, honored and respected her, nurtured her and accepted her healing bounty in return.

Until next month . . .

Be well,


[If you are interested in learning more about environmental illness and its effects on both humans and equines, I urge you to take a look at biochemist Linsey McLean’s Website: Linsey is a brilliant pioneer in this field and has helped many humans and animals restore their health.]

*This column originally appeared in From the Horse’s Mouth in March, 2009.

© 2009 by Pamela Sourelis