Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bigger Faster Stronger

We harvested our squash last week. Keep in mind that we didn't plant squash in our garden, we composted it last year and it decided that it wanted to be part of our garden. We didn't resist the unexpected plants, but next year we will take them out like weeds. Maybe that isn't how I should say it, since we didn't have very good luck with weeds this year either. We will take them out like chestnut trees, we were able to keep out chestnut forest under control.
So the point is, all of my seeds came from one banana squash, a couple pumpkins, a spaghetti squash and a couple of others that we picked up somewhere. The banana squash that we bought last year was huge. I'm sure it was grown with all of the modern pesticides and fertilizers and that is why it was huge. Sure, we got a couple of squash that were pretty big (genetics), but most were moderately sized. At first I was a little disappointed that my squash were smaller (and somehow inferior?) to those available at the farmer's market. I got to thinking about this and it is completely backwards. My squash are smaller because they were grown in competition with weeds that I couldn't keep up with and without fertilizers aiding their growth. My squash grew on compost and water. I know what is in my squash, and it's not artificial chemicals (except for those that the neighbors use and drift our way). I will take my smaller squash over the chemical mammoths at the farmer's market any day.
This is a hard thing for people to deal with. Look at people's choices in houses, cars, fruit, etc. Bigger is considered better. I don't think this is true. Lets take kids for a moment. If you see a plump child (I'm talking preschool and up, not infant) people tend to comment that the child looks, "healthy". Not necessarily.
Even science does it... Average height has been increasing from year to year for quite some time now. Modern medicine is quite proud of itself because surely this is due to improved nutrition. No it's not. Sure, malnutrition is the cause of some extremely small statures, but the extremely tall statures that we are now seeing does not mean that our nutrition is extremely good. What we see is the result of excess insulin (and therefore growth hormone) in the blood as a result of eating lots of sweets, colas and otherwise simple, processed foods. With chronically elevated insulin and growth hormone levels, children are getting taller, going through puberty earlier and simply developing more quickly. While this isn't necessarily bad, I don't think that it's good. For example, taller women (those who have been exposed to higher blood insulin and growth hormone levels) have a much higher risk of getting breast cancer. There are many other examples of this. Taller is not better, just as bigger produce isn't better.
And what do we do for entertainment? We gather around a television and watch physiologic freaks (either through genetic, nutritional or chemical means) compete at professional sports. Bigger, faster and stronger are what we strive after, that is what the "cool" guys are. Except they often times aren't healthy.
My favorite example of this is still from the scriptures. The Jewish people of the old testament were awaiting a Messiah, a King that would save them from the oppression of the Greeks. They were awaiting a mighty military ruler who could overthrow the Greeks and allow their people to return to their promised land. They sort of assumed that this would be accomplished through force and military might. Instead, what they got was the carpenter's son; a man who was meek and humble, hardly a military ruler. Not only was he not a large man or a military leader, but he taught to be peaceful and humble.
Despite the Jew's expectations, they got a man more powerful than their expectations. Not a military leader, but a religious leader who brought with him the forgiveness of sins. A more powerful man, there will never be.
Bigger, stronger and faster is not always better. I'm proud of my smaller fruit because it is natural from the earth. It was produced how God prepared for it to be produced, through normal natural processes. In a lineup of banana squash it may not be very impressive, but its strength lies in its creation, not its outward appearance.


Emily Allan Wood said...

Yay! Someone who thinks that being my height is a good thing! Thanks Sans!

Emily Allan Wood said...

P.S. I like your squash

Heffalump said...

Wow, that is a lot of squash. It makes me want to carve a Jack O Lantern and make some pumpkin pie.

Bri-onic Man said...

Wow, Sans . . . food for thought. (man, so punny!)