• Filipa Larangeira Carvalho

Let food be thy medicine.

I rarely write posts in English these days as I believe that I am more valuable speaking in my mother tongue, Portuguese.

However, a recent marketing move from a fast-food chain triggered in me a need to write in a language that connects us all.

Above all I am speaking in the language of human values.

In the same week that this commercial is out I had to go with a family member to the doctor. One of her joints is severely damaged and after a 2-minute examination (not more than that) and a pain-killer shot, the thirty something year-old doctor gives us the verdict: the 70-year old patient would have to go through surgery (in the current pandemic context) to replace the damaged joint.

As this person is very dear to me and also due to my passion and research about well-being in the last years, I asked the doctor two simple questions: " Where did this came from? And, is it possible to avoid or delay surgery ?".

The answers were blurry and didn't convince me at all as it point out to either unknown reasons or genetics.

The last one was not likely since it's the first case in the family. Furthermore, there's also Epigenetics that proves that we are not victims of our genes.

I was also quite surprised by the fact that not for a moment the doctor mentioned FOOD as a cause and as possible medicine.

Neither was stress or emotions in the mind of that doctor as a source of pain, illness and consequently, of cure.

The patient's body was a seen as big block of human parts without any apparent connection.

It's interesting how we have gained so much knowledge in the past decades but on the other hand, it seems that we have lost touch with our innate wisdom.

And by that I mean the voice within that tells us that "there must be a better and simpler way", "there must be a way that is good for us all, today and tomorrow".

Two weeks ago I had a call with a Hays consultant that presented me their study about the Pandemic impact on employers and employees.

One particular data caught my eyes: 30% of the employees said that their mental health was negatively impacted by the current context.

As much as I have clients and friends that are struggling too, the number was still chocking to me.

Now speaking about the fast-food commercial:

Cooperation and employability are definitely important at this point. However they are all partial measures of a much bigger long-term vision.

As the world rapidly evolves in a way that we've never seen before, we must demand bolder and wiser actions that once and for all address the white elephant in the current paradigm context: social, economic and environmental sustainability.

Yes, jobs are important but what we want are in fact purposeful and human jobs, where people are able to LIVE without fear and stress. Where people can be free, creative, and healthy while supporting a purpose that goes beyond profit.

Yes, we want affordable food but we want in fact FOOD. Not sugar disguised as bread or processed ingredients that silently kill us.

We want the medicine that prevent us from being ill and overloading the health system. We want real affordable food that nurtures our body.

Scientific evidence shows the link between sugar and mental health.

A study published in the journal Scientific Reports identified a greater risk of depression among men who consumed significant amounts of sugar in their diet. Furthermore, data from the Whitehall II study – a large group of civil servants in the U.K. – showed that sugar consumption came before depression, rather than being a consequence of it.

Can you guess what's one of the main ingredients in fast-food products? Exactly...sugar.

So it's time for us all to demand conscious leadership decisions and to become conscious leaders ourselves.

The transformation is of course a longer process but it needs to start immediately with integrity, focus and cooperation from all parties: big and small companies, governments and civil society, leaders and employees, mothers, fathers, children...all of us.

So my call to action is for each one of us to be the change we want to see in the world:

  1. Focus on your long-term well-being and make conscious choices.

  2. Put your talents and resources out there and serve the common good (don't wait for others to do it for you). Your action and voice matter!

  3. Support beyond-profit and local businesses that focus on common good.

  4. Enquire, provide constructive feedback and avoid consuming from businesses that are harming humanity and environment.

  5. Don't be afraid to stand out of the group: stay focused on human values and go within to make choices. More will follow you, trust me.

Don't wait for other leaders to do it. Be the leader yourself.

Let's do this. Together.

Thank you.

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