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community and health

I just saw a tweet from the Ancestral Health Symposium in Boston that said, “Look not just to diet and exercise as variables, but also social organization. How does community affect health?”

And I immediately said, “Tons.” Community affects health TONS.

Justin got up this morning and went for a run around the back field, with encouragement from me, after I came upstairs from doing 40 minutes of stretching and bodyweight exercises. Everyday when I finish that exercise, he says “I’m proud of you.”

That’s part of my community, and affects my health.

We live in a rural area with lots of small farms. There’s always local produce (in growing season) at the co-op, both in-town grocery stores, and at countless farmers’ markets and roadside stands.

That’s part of my community, and affects my health.

My secretary gave me two lovely cucumbers from someone’s garden — her husband had been gifted with a giant bag of them, and they had too many — and they became part of my sandwich for lunch today.

That’s part of my community, and affects my health.

We live in a place where people can drive 20-50 minutes and be in deep woods, on a river, up a mountain, and spend a lot of time talking about what they do in those places and how amazing it is, and offering to share their experiences with others.

That’s part of my community, and affects my health.

I live within drop-off range of a family-owned grass-fed pastured ranch that does a meat CSA, delivering locally raised and processed meat to my doorstep once a month.

That’s part of my community, and affects my health.

I work on a campus that has a vibrant food culture, eatery options that provide standard fast food fare side-by-side with gourmet options, and a conscious operating choice to cater to the needs of vegetarians, vegans, and gluten intolerances. When I forget to pack a lunch, I do not live in a food desert.

That’s part of my community, and affects my health.

Nearly all the friends I see locally and regularly are vegetarians, or hunters who only eat meat they’ve harvested, or engaged in eating whole foods. We talk about those things. Regularly.

That’s part of my community, and affects my health.

Seriously. Think about it. How can community not affect your health, when you parse the variables?

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