In the Stone Age the fittest survived, but what does “the fittest” mean? It was an era of scarcity, so whoever could hunt better, reproduce more, run faster, or was the strongest survived, and his genes survived. The common denominator was physical capability. In that era, it was easy to identify the enemy, whether it was a wolf, a lion, or a competing tribe.

I feel we now live in an era of a new “jungle,” a jungle of our own making, which requires a different behavior for survival. Now, the “fittest” is no longer the strongest. In today’s era it is very difficult to identify “the enemy.”

We, in the developed parts of the world, live not in an era of scarcity but of abundance. There is too much to choose from. Just look at a supermarket, any supermarket in the developed world. There are many foods to choose from. But is any of it good for us? Is it healthy? Research done by a supermarket chain shows that if you eliminate the produce department—which by definition is healthy, what nature provides us—76 percent of the 24,000 items the supermarket sells have no nutritious value. (Dr. Jeff Novack of the Pritikin Center provided this data in his video Health Food or Healthy Food.)

Advertisements use the most sophisticated, well-researched psychological methods to convince us to consume foods that, in reality, might be killing us. Most commercial, packaged food products are not good for our health. They are high in fat, high in cholesterol, high in sugar.

A large percentage of people in developed countries die prematurely from heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and diabetes—diseases associated with lifestyle of sitting too much, working in a stressful environment, and consuming food that clogs arteries and causes inflammation.

This life-threatening lifestyle is promoted by companies that make a living selling the food, the tobacco, and the drugs that are killing us. Danger looms from every billboard, TV ad, and marketing promotion, but it is camouflaged not only to look not dangerous but, on the contrary, to appear very friendly and attractive.

But do we realize this is the enemy, or do we gravitate to fast food restaurants as if they were an extension of our home?

In the Stone Age, a snake was a snake and a lion was a lion. There was no mistaking where the threat was. Today, fast food, sugary drinks, and animal products (dairy and meat) loaded with fat and antibiotics are packaged and promoted as if they are the best things for us to eat. And they kill us. Slowly.

In this new jungle the enemy is parading as a friend. In this new jungle people consume toxic food and do not know it is harmful. We are falling apart and don’t realize it.

So who will survive now? Not the strongest physically. Nor the most intelligent. I suggest to you that it will be those with the self-discipline to say “NO!” to temptations; those who have the willpower and discipline to select very carefully what they eat; those who take the time to exercise, and rest sufficiently. People who believe that bigger muscles, jogging, and exercise will prolong their life, but at the same time eat junk food, do not realize that the jungle has changed.

It is not easy to say no. The temptations are enormous. Fast food outlets are everywhere; opportunities to work more, and rest less, are endless. And as this way of living makes us sick, drug companies are happy to offer us drugs to overcome the diseases created by our lifestyle, only to create new health problems as a result of the drugs’ side effects.

Who will survive? The conscious ones who have self-discipline and willpower. It is not the Stone Age now. What counts is not how fast you run, but how tightly you close your mouth.

With respect…

Ichak K. Adizes