My dad is an operations researcher. His field comes up with all these awesome tools for optimizing things – from industrial operations like cutting fabric to very intimate things like nutrition and time management. Personally, I think these tools are powerful enough to solve many of the world’s problems, from environmental ones to health related ones. Unfortunately, as my dad points out, getting people to use decision tools is hard. We don’t want to.

In my mind this is why a lot of people tend to simplify these things. “Just give up carbs, and your life will be wonderful” or “The solution to a good life is sleeping well.” or “Drink acai berry juice and solve all your health problems!!!” “Eat clean!!” “Eat Raw!!” “Go all natural!! It’s better for you!!!!!”

It blows my mind sometimes. I know science really does show that some types of modern developments are verifiably BAD. For example, chlorofluorcarbons catalyze a reaction that destroys ozone. Vinyl chloride is a known carcinogen. I can look at all of this, and say, woah, humanity has invented some pretty terrible things, that have all kinds of unintended consequences.

Okay – so I can see why this “natural living” back to the basics kind of movement exists. It’s even tempting, really. Get rid of plasics from your life, and decrease your exposure to endocrine disruptors like BPA. Sounds shiny.


I. Cannot. Swallow. This. Argument.

“natural is better for you!!” [and] “consider the placebo effect!!”*



I might become a plastic-free, wooden toy, cloth diaper toting momma one day, but I will not be sold on the idea that natural is – be default and always – better. I’m sorry – really? Cyanide is natural. Arsenic is natural. Asbestos is natural. And I ain’t putting that in my house.

When my man or my family gets sick, I will not be sold on “natural is better” or “placebos are great!!” Disease is no lover of man, and cancer is a cruel trickster. When the rubber hits the road I want the best that modern medicine can give. And if that’s some synthetic compound, I, for one, will praise the artificial.

*This is quoted verbatim from a (legitimate?) home remedies website, which shall remain nameless.

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