From Zoe: It's Our Nature
Dr. Michael Klaper interviewed by Michael Mountain, November 2011
In the first part of this discussion, we talked with Dr. Klaper about his One Step Key to Good Health and about how the body wants to be healthy and has what it takes to heal itself. All we have to do is give it what it needs and live by what he calls “the laws of nature.”
Michael Mountain: When you talk about living according to the laws of nature, are you referring to what you eat and drink or do you mean something more fundamental?
Dr. Michael Klaper: I guess a combination of both. We humans are amazing in our ability to adapt, including to adapt to unnatural and bizarre environments. Today, rather than eating real food, we mostly eat food-like substances in colorful packages and boxes.
You want to eat food as grown, so you can recognize a piece of lettuce as what grew in the field as part of a lettuce plant. Corn chips do not look like corn. Potato chips do not look like potatoes. So when I say natural law, I mean that it starts with natural, whole foods in their real, live, whole state.
And next, we’re meant to be out in the sunshine. We’re meant to be physically active. We’re meant to interact with each other and laugh and care for each other. We are tribal creatures, designed to be connected in a natural world with the sun and water and physical activity. And when we start severing those ties, then disease happens – physical diseases and societal diseases, too, like crime and neglect. And that, in turn, breeds economic diseases, with sky rocketing health care costs and loss of work and loss of wages and all that.
So we’re bringing this catastrophe on ourselves by ignoring the natural world and disconnecting from it. There’s nothing mysterious about natural law. It feels good to be warm and fit and loved, and it feels bad to be cold and alone and sick. And so, I want people to get in touch with those things that truly give us a good life.
Get your pleasurable sensations through natural means, get your foods in an unprocessed form, be clear and honest and open in your relationships with other people and with the natural world.
Get out in the sunshine.
I tell parents all the time: Take your kids to the park, away from that computer screen. Take them up to the stream or to the ocean or the forest, and see how nature really works, and you’ll start overcoming that great disconnect that is one of the primary ills of our society, this huge disconnect from the natural world on which we all depend.
M.M.: How would you apply this to how we relate to other animals and to the environment overall?
M.K.: It starts with a sense of humility. Hundreds of years ago, when
people stood in front of a buffalo or an elephant or giraffe or a polar bear,
they were far more huge and powerful than we are. We’ve overblown our sense of
self importance. We’ve lost the wonder of these animals and we’ve lost respect
John Denver had a lovely phrase in a song that said, “Man with all his power, his reason and his choice – who’s to say the nightingale has any lesser voice?”
Each one of these animals has a right to be here. They were here long before we were. And it’s so arrogant on our part, so callous, to say that they do not have a legitimate role in this world.
There are people who would turn the entire planet into suburbia with lawns and dairy farms and that, and that’s the end of nature as far as they’re concerned. It’s like “Who needs nature? I’ve got my computer.”
M.M.: We grow up in a culture that says that everything on this planet is simply a “resource” that’s here for our use.
M.K.: That seems to be the message we’ve been given since childhood. The Bible tells us to take dominion over the Earth, and that’s been interpreted that we can do anything we want with the planet and its inhabitants.
But this totally ignores natural law. In ancient times, awareness of nature permeated all societies. People honored the natural laws. And the animals were part of that. They were respected. They were killed and consumed, but it was done with a sense of balance and not a sense of exploitation.
But today, there’s a callousness toward animals. The juggernaut of exploitation is all-permeating, and it finds its way into medicine and nutrition.
And that’s such a hollow, life-defeating stance to have. So, it starts with regaining that sense of respect and that sense of wonder.
M.M.: You only have to step outside, even in a big city, and it’s all around you.
M.K.: You know, it’s autumn now, and there are tiny little birds flying 3,000 miles a stretch, over open oceans, as they migrate. The golden plover flies from Alaska to Hawaii. I used to live in Hawaii and you see these plovers come in. How do they find those islands in the middle of the Pacific? And how do they gear up for something like six days of continuous flying at 50 miles an hour. That should make everyone stop and hold their hearts and applaud at this wonder.
And there are wonders all around us, in everything from the insects to the redwood trees.
We depend on fresh air, fresh water and healthy soils, and it’s in our peril that we, we denude the forests and we erode the top soils and pollute the waters and, and it’s coming back to bite us. We’re watching the polar ice caps melt, and the species disappear, the forests disappear, and we’re going to find ourselves very lonely on a desert planet at this point.
And I think Chief Seattle said, if all the animals disappear, there will be a great loneliness.
M.M.: How do you get that sense of wonder and humility back?
M.K.: Children have it. If you bring them out into the natural world early, they have it. We’ve got to see how precious that is, and nurture that. Don’t extinguish it with some handheld computer device. That love of the natural world is where it has to start.
You know, I find that kids want to be vegetarian. As soon as they find out where that lamb chop really comes from, and where that steak and that chicken really comes from, they’re appalled by that. They love the animals. And that needs to be recognized and nurtured.
Go on to Part Three: How to Start on a Plant-Based Diet