If I were an eating disorders coach….

If I were an eating disorders coach, I would strive toward enlightenment, rather than narrowing a person’s viewpoint. I would never want to halt a person’s natural growth process nor discourage one’s natural curiosity about the world. I would want to broaden experience and generate all sorts of interesting discussions.

The discussion of food doesn’t need to be only about “coping” and “feelings.” All that is mostly how traditional ED treatment talks about why people develop ED. I would broaden the topic to discuss economics. So I will discuss something right now that I was thinking about this morning. I would be interested in hearing your reaction.

I was thinking about housing and raw materials. Raw materials, like food, are distributed unevenly throughout the world. This is the entire basis for rich and poor. This is why some are haves and others and have nots. Those of you who live in “developed” countries might not realize that many of the metals you ordinarily see, the components that your stove and fridge are made of, what your pipes are made of, and ordinary things you buy in the store are not even available in many other countries around the world. What does this mean? Is it important? How does it affect me? Why should I care?

Well? Maybe you shouldn’t, and if you think this is hogwash, x out my blog right away. How long have you had your fridge? Five years? Ten? Here in Uruguay, my guess is that most refrigerators don’t last a full ten years. Why? Because of the metals they are made of. It comes down to basics. I brought my own dog leashes from USA because I figured anything I purchased here would be made of cheaper quality metal from China.

I am not saying “buy what’s made in USA because USA is better.” Think about where things are marketed and why, and the thinking behind it. Just think.

Know what pipes are made of here? These are pipes that bring water into homes and carry waste water out.   Unless you are very rich and can afford something extremely expensive, pipes are about as flimsy as plastic disposable drinking straws, the kind you get at fast food restaurants wrapped in paper. Our pipes are usually reinforced with wire coil (think: Slinky). Many pipes are made with PVC, which is a plastic.

Let me tell you what I know about PVC. First of all, I’ve been to stores here and seen, side by side, PVC items and the same items made of other plastics. The PVC items are cheaper. However, I’ve also looked up PVC in Wikipedia. I invite you to do the same. Unless I am remembering wrong, or there has been new research, or they’ve altered Wikipedia (this happens, as the PVC manufacturers may have paid someone to remove the article), PVC is NOT a safe plastic. It is a known carcinogen. This is well-established. So you may be wondering why PVC is so heavily marketed?

Why? It is marketed to poor countries as “cheap and useful plastic.” I stumbled upon the PVC website maybe a year ago, quite by accident. This was a manufacturer in Africa, one of the larger countries where they are exporting tons of that stuff. To where? Mostly Third World countries. The company’s website said the stuff was easy and cheap to ship and was bringing in a fortune. The site boasted of how successful the company was. At killing poor, dark-skinned people who don’t matter, are inferior, live far away, and no one cares anyway.

So no one should care, we should all x out what I am saying right now. Shut it off, shut off the starving children “elsewhere.”

Maybe six months ago, I saw a petition a woman had sent out regarding a home she and her family had hastily moved into after they’d been displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Apparently, this home had been built in a hurry out of poor quality building materials, cheap stuff shipped in from China. The children became ill, and then, one adult developed thyroid cancer. Her petition asked for the banning of one particular type of drywall. She had researched her petition well. I think that’s a very reasonable and tangible goal, and I hope she achieved it.

Here in Uruguay, that’s all we have. Cheap materials. Homes thrown together on a budget. What results is leaks, bugs, fog indoors, disease, too hot in summer, stinking clothes, impossible to heat in winter, food cannot be safely stored nor prepared, human and pet waste cannot be effectively removed, no one has enough personal space nor personal privacy, and children cannot be properly cared for. Since folks end up in overcrowded conditions, domestic violence is common.  And yet there is plenty of open space here. Only for those who can afford to pad themselves with it, apparently. I’d say you’d need to have the money to purchase your own home and have even more money to repair it, otherwise, you’re doomed to rent, and you’d better rent an expensive place otherwise you’re stuck with cheap cheap cheap. I have noticed homes boarded up, as it seems they are uninhabitable and no one can live there. I also notice moldy homes re-painted and then re-rented to unsuspecting renters who “find out” the truth, AFTER signing the year’s contract they can’t get out of so easily.

Same with food, similar economics play out, the shipping, marketing, distribution of food is quite similar. Except the shelf life of food is much shorter than the shelf life of plastics.

What does it matter? Why should anyone care about people who live far away, mulattos who don’t matter, who speak another language anyway? Go ahead, x me out.  Turn away. If you do not like economics, if you do not want to know these things, only learn about how to freeze an orange and then, hold onto it and think coping skills will solve everything.

Don’t even ask how that orange got to your freezer. The day your freezer breaks, call the crisis team, as the number might be posted on your fridge. I’m sure they’ll have (ahem) plenty of solutions for you. Like “Take a deep breath.” Wow I need to do that soon myself within the next year or I might drop dead.

Feedback and comments welcome!