Have you ever seen a baby flamingo? They're white.
As in, devoid of color.
As in, not pink.
Flamingos only get pink because of the food they eat. In captivity (zoos) they're fed specially created flamingo pellets to help them become pink. The process is a lot like what happens for farmed salmon. We want them to be pink because, in the wild at least, the pinker they are, the healthier they are.
Which got me thinking.
We're all born as blank slates. It's what we put into our bodies, the food we eat, the experiences we internalize, and the relationships we allow into our hearts, that start to write the script for who we will become.
Most of us, stupidly, don't realize until we are much older, that a lot of the products marketed as food are unhealthy, many of the scenarios we put ourselves in are toxic, and many of the relationships we allow into our world are chipping away at something we actually really like about ourselves.
And because of all that, we become a little grey. We're sick. But we don't know it. We tell ourselves that this is how we're supposed to feel. There's no way around it. We buy into diet fads and crazes that promise more energy. We drink more caffeine than we should. We try to convince ourselves to be happy despite feeling the weight of our bad decisions. We're sick and unhappy.
But then one day we wake up. And we decide to cleanse.
I lived off the dollar menu of McDonalds for more years than I'd like to admit under the guise that it filled me up and it was so cheap. In order to be healthy I would order a McChicken, with no mayo, add ketchup. And of course I'd get a Diet Coke. I was thin, sure. But goodness I was unhealthy. When I got my first milk goat, and my first chickens, that started to change. Because when you start to feed yourself real food that other crap starts to taste like, well, crap.
Of course some of these decisions are made for us, the elimination of relationships and the changing of circumstances. We can't control everything. Sometimes we're catapulted out of bad situations and forced to pivot, not knowing at the time that we should be thanking the person who blindsided us.
Over the years I've learned. We cannot always control our lives. But we can always control our own responses: where we choose to put our energy, which dreams we choose to follow, and who we choose to be part of our worlds.
And in a way that's what Matthew and I are trying to do at the farm. We have quite a few outside stressors— but somehow, on the farm, in this magical alcove we've created, we manage to grow and make the most beautiful food, manifest amazing experiences, and, most importantly foster relationships that feed our souls.
At least once a week someone comes to our farm and cries.
And not in a bad way. In the best way.
This farm is a goat dairy, yes. And we make really really good cheese, yes.
But we're also trying to help our community see that farms are valuable places.
I say it all the time.
Goats are cheaper than therapy (trust me, I've paid for both). And while goats cannot solve everything, what they can do is help you connect with that innocent sense of self. The self that existed before the world got ahold of you.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, goats are one of those ways we can become just a little pinker. But it's not the only way.
The food we choose to put in our bodies, the decisions we make when feeding our families, they all add up to make us healthier and "pinker." Americans spend just 6.4% of their household income on food, that's less than any other country in the world. Why is that? Because many of the foods that Americans buy are either directly or indirectly subsidized by the government. And those foods shouldn't make up the majority of our diet.
And yet they do.
And because we as a country are so brainwashed to think that calories should be cheap we often balk when we see the price of a small farmer's product.
But what if, instead of looking at that food as simple calories, we started to look at it as an investment in our health? The health of our own bodies, the health of our children, and of course, the health of our community.
It may sound crazy, but, what if supporting small farms is the true ticket to becoming more pink?