Alternative Health: Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
I had a friendly run in with some Sisters yesterday about the importance of being balanced—of being between these starvation diets and not letting oneself succumb to dietary/health neglect. When this issue comes up, a lot of Muslims will say: “It ain’t haraam [Islamically prohibited] to eat such-and-such foods” (i.e., what many call “junk foods”). That isn’t really the point. The point is that the typical American diet is filled with all sorts of chemicals: preservatives, fillers, pesticides, herbicides, flavor enhancers, etc. that by all accounts do not enhance one’s health. We have to be more sophisticated in our understanding of the food/medical industries. They don’t exist to improve the quality of our lives—they exist to make money, and it is profitable (to some sectors) to have a sick, gluttonous, obese, food addicted populace to whom they can sell more of their “food” and drugs.
Another point about eating healthily is not that one just feels physically better, one will feel PSYCHOLOGICALLY BETTER. The physical and mental torpor dissipates, one has more energy, and one gains greater internal clarity and greater focus. Also, on the psychological level, it feels good to gain control over the nafs (the lower self) to overcome food addiction.
Lastly, eating well has greater social implications. When we look at the Muslim world today, inadequate nutrition is a major problem. Many factors are involved in addition to outright political corruption and corporate greed. Many people simply don’t know how to eat. Many Muslims have abandoned their traditional diets in favor of American diets (not American diets, as in those who go to the health food stores, but the diets of those who do their food shopping at convenience stores, KFC, and the Walmart). I remember when i was in Istanbul, it was considered by the bourgeois of the city a sign of status to go to the McDonald’s. This is where blind imitation leads you.
As for the film Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, i had started it several times thinking that it is about a smug Australian guy traveling across the US telling people about his diet. I didn’t get more than 15 minutes in before i fell asleep. Last night i stuck with it, however. One thing seemed strange while i was watching it was that in the movie description it said it was about TWO people struggling to change their diets. Well, you have to get to the second half of the documentary before the second character gets involved. Maa-shaa’ Allah, it is an inspiring story!
As for fasting, it should be clear that the fasting spoken about in the film is not the fasting mandated in the Sacred Law. Also, there are a couple of Islamically inappropriate shots in the film, but one can gain a lot, and hopefully, it will encourage us to make some changes in our lives to improve our health, and God-willing, we can encourage others. Here’s the link: