A Guest blog by Lori Fryd

The Antidote: Did you ever see one of those movies where the main character has an exotic virus or bacteria and a team of really smart scientists have only 24-48 hours to save his life? Sometimes, it’s a whole town infected by a rotten bug. Sometimes, the whole world’s gonna get sick and die of a plague-y type thing unless everybody scrambles around like manic chickens to find the antidote.

I really like these medical mystery thriller type movies. I sit on the edge of my seat and try (unsuccessfully) to follow all the medical jargon they throw around. Usually there’s a love interest who gets sick and the husband has to save the wife or the girlfriend or the ex-wife has to save the ex-husband or somebody who loves somebody is the only one who can find the antidote to save that person’s life. They never realize just how much they loved each other until they were forced to search for…..the antidote. (Sigh….)  It’s dramatic!

Real life? Oh man, real life is just soooo boring. I mean, yeah, we get sick in the real world, but it’s not that cool kind of sick where people rush around trying to save you while you lie in bed getting progressively more ethereal and translucently beautiful (in a Greta Garbo-Camille / Love Story-Ali McGraw kind of way).

In real life, we just get sick and we trudge aimlessly to doctor after doctor who can’t help us and everybody rolls their eyes when we talk about our ailments and it’s all mundane and ordinary and oh so common. And then, on top of everything else, it takes us years – decades even – to die. Not to mention the fact that, in between getting sick and dying, it’s not all poignant and bittersweet and tender and touching like in the movies. No, we just lose our energy, lose our zest for living, get weaker and whinier and uglier and progressively more and more uninteresting until we finally succumb to slow, chronically ill, unattractive, uncinematic deaths that surprise no one. Not exactly a sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat crowd pleaser, is it?

There’s no drama. And there’s no suspense because the antidote for all this illness is not some secret formula for a long-lost serum that’s hidden in a dusty third-world laboratory that got disbanded after the fall of the Soviet Union….yadda, yadda, etc. Turns out….the antidote is sitting on the freaking shelves of our local grocery stores or in bins at the farmer’s market in our very own neighborhoods every Tuesday and Thursday morning. Not exotic.

I guess that’s why there’s not that much interest in figuring out how foods can heal us. Everybody wants excitement and a spine-tingling storyline they can really get involved with while they down their popcorn and candy bars and sugary sodas. The public has been conditioned into expecting the dramatic allure of miracle cures, quick fixes and magic pills. Most people don’t get overly excited about a salad and an apple. Boring!

With all the deplorable, avoidable, shameful illness we see around us, the antidote turns out to be the most common, most mundane, most simplistic of all things. So truly banal, in fact, that we still cannot wrap our minds around the fact that so much of the misery and suffering which currently plague us can actually be alleviated. It’s too dull to talk about fruits and vegetables. Hello??? Where’s the drama?

Well, I’ll tell you what, friends. When I walk outside my front door or go to a public place these days and see how much chronic illness surrounds me, I feel blessed and fortunate and privileged that I have the antidote. I am ecstatic that I don’t have to worry about years of pain and disability anymore. I crow with pleasure over my boring old shopping cart filled with the foods that have saved my life and restored my spirit.

I love the antidote. I am awed by the elegance of the antidote. My soul is humbled and filled with thanks and wonderment over the grace and exquisite symmetry of the antidote – an antidote which brings me into communion with nature and teaches me of my place within it. Because I know now that it is only when I partake of nature, itself, that I can be healthy and whole.

So, if all I want is a life worth living, I’ll grab an ordinary old clunky grocery cart with squeaky wheels and fill it to the brim with the antidote. And, if having a life worth living is just not exciting enough for me, well…..I guess I can always go to the movies.