Food is Medicine
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates
The United States of America enjoys a diverse abundance of low-cost food, spending a mere 10% of their disposable income on it. Since we demand such cheap products, farmers must cut corners and become “economical”. The percentage of revenue that makes it back to the farm which produced the food is a fraction of what it historically has been. Just 16 cents of every dollar spent on food in 2015 went back; in 1975 it was 40 cents. This dynamic has created a beastly cycle that is making our society sick beyond measure. The most unfortunate aspect of our current production system is that store prices do not reflect the external impact that occurs to produce such low-cost food. These include economic, social, and environmental destruction. These all adversely affect the sustainability and nutritional content of our food choices. When one considers the full life cycle of the U.S. food system, it helps illuminate the connection/corruption between consumption behaviors and production practices.
The Big Three
Our food system is broken. It is not based on a closed-looped model; when nothing within the system uses external resources to function. We instead exist linearly; every stage operating independently of the one before and after it while being dependent on outside input to exist. Wholesome vegetables, fruits and meats that were once full of nutrients and vitamins are now full of industrialized chemicals that are manufactured to resemble food…Frankenfood. Our main choices consist of The Big Three: wheat, corn and soy. Check the labels on most packaged or processed food and there will be at least two ingredients from one of them. They can come disguised as soy lecithin, maltodextrin, caramel color, etc., these are all derivatives from The Big Three. These monocrops that have taken over small farming operations are in turn causing the world-wide hunger problem. It is minimizing our selection of domestically grown vegetables. Some alarming statistics:
- Lаrgе-ѕсаlе fаmіlу fаrmѕ ассоunt for оnlу 2% оf the total, but 35% of all production.
- Smаll-ѕсаlе fаmіlу fаrmѕ ассоunt fоr оnlу 26% оf рrоduсtіоn but rерrеѕеnt 90% оf U.S. fаrmѕ.
- Frоm 1997 to 2007, tоtаl сrорlаnd decreased from 455 mіllіоn асrеѕ to 408 million acres.
- In 2012, fаrmеrѕ were reliant оn income sources outside thе fаrm tо mаkе up 80% оf thеіr household іnсоmе.
- Fаrmеrѕ ассоunt for 1% оf thе рорulаtіоn and their average age is increasing.
Not only are these Big Three in anything packaged but all industrialized animal products that originate from a CAFO (Commercial Animal Farming Operation) have been grain-fed (meaning wheat, corn or soy) and their meat is harmful for you. According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, “Research spanning three decades suggests that grass-based diets can significantly improve the fatty acid (FA) composition and antioxidant content of beef.” (Here’s the section of the study that was relevant. We italicized it and highlighted the important part if you wanted to skip over this section, if you would like to read the full article click here.) Grass-based diets have been shown to enhance total conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (C18:2) isomers, trans vaccenic acid (TVA) (C18:1 t11), a precursor to CLA, and omega-3 (n-3) FAs on a g/g fat basis. While the overall concentration of total SFAs is not different between feeding regimens, grass-finished beef tends toward a higher proportion of cholesterol neutral stearic FA (that’s the good cholesterol) (C18:0), and less cholesterol-elevating SFAs such as myristic (C14:0) and palmitic (C16:0) FAs. Several studies suggest that grass-based diets elevate precursors for Vitamin A and E, as well as cancer fighting antioxidants such as glutathione (GT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity as compared to grain-fed contemporaries.
Everything Is By Design
From the Earth and its ecosystems, down to the way our city streets are mapped out and orchestrated to run efficiently and quickly, it is all designed. Our bodies are no different. There are multiple systems working together that allow us to function as one complete unit. Like a web, those systems are connected in amazing ways. It starts with your beating heart of the Circulatory system. That blood then feeds the Lymphatic system (immune system). The Lymphatic system is connected to the brain. Our brains are fed by our digestive system which then impact our Lymphatic System. It’s all intricately designed. Our bodies were made to run at a homeostasis (balance) naturally. Cutting edge research is showing scientists that bacteria and microbes play a vital role in that balance. When the balance gets thrown off, there are catastrophic results.
- One third of American’s have type II diabetes.
- It will cost approximately $14,000/year per person to treat.
- It takes an average of five years for a person with diabetes to become aware of it and 88% of those people don’t know they have it.
- Half of the American population has a chronic illness.
- 30% of children have a chronic illness.
- The Department of Defense sites chronic illness as an existential threat stating that by 2040 100% of the Federal budget will go to healthcare.
Gentically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living organisms whose genes have been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering. This creates combinations of plant, animal, bacteria, and virus genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods. Thе release оf GMOѕ іntо thе еnvіrоnmеnt аnd thе marketing оf foods derived frоm GM сrорѕ have rеѕultеd іn a ѕсіеntіfіс and рublіс dеbаtе. Dеѕріtе the publicized bеnеfіtѕ оf thе application оf genetic engineering іn аgrісulturе to іmрrоvе the ԛuаlіtу аnd thе reliability оf thе fооd supply chain, the negative effects of these crops far outweigh any potential positive ones. Genetic engineering has resulted in monocrop domination, stronger pests/bugs, stronger bacteria, a decrease in the nutritional content of crops, an increase in chronic illnesses as well as a decrease in the average age of onset, and more. The most detrimental aspect of GMOs is how much glyphosate is found within and on their flesh. Glyphosate is a pesticide that kills bacteria and pests. Part of the genetic engineering is that this carcinogen has been put into the crops genetic code. A “round-up ready” crop means that the fruit and vegetables being produced already have the Round-up pesticide within them. How can it not have detrimental effects on people? Scientists have recently linked it to cancer. This high concentration of glyphosate is causing the flora in our intestinal track to malfunction. Humans are nothing more than fancy conduits for the proliferation of microorganisms. So, basically, we are more than an organism, we are an ecosystem; Welcome to The Gut Biome!!! This entity within all of us affects mood, depression, behavior and motivation. The gut microbiomes, which outnumber our human cells 10:1, have been here since ancient times. According to a research paper (click here to read it) written by Jeanne D’Brant, an Associate Professor of Biology and Allied Health at the University of NY, our gut microbiome’s are responsible for creating neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are what allow the synapses in a person’s brain to fire and function. She states that “genetically modified foods present serious health risks to humans including altered gastrointestinal function, immune disorders, infertility, accelerated aging, and insulin dysregulation.” “Since GMOs were introduced in 1996, the percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses went from 7% to 13% and we have witnessed an unprecedented rise in autism, food allergies, digestive disorders, and reproductive issues. GM foods are believed to be contributory to the diabetes and obesity problems in the population, now seen at epidemic levels.” Less than 20% оf соrn аnd ѕоу plants wеrе genetically еngіnееrеd іn 1996; bу 2016, 92% оf corn аnd 94% of ѕоуbеаnѕ wеrе gеnеtісаllу modified. Why? The food has changed over time. Producers like Nabisco, Kellog’s, and Hershey’s have partnered with scientists and psychologists to create a product that feeds our intrinsic addictive hungers. Almost like designer heroine that’s legal. The craving is real, but don’t be fooled. Those parts of your brain that make you engorge on sugar, fat and salt are forcing you to do it. The pieces of us that have historically driven us to survive are just doing exactly what they were made to do. When people were designed 200,000 years ago sugar, fat, and salt were scarce. When we miraculously happened to find some in nature our brain told us to eat as much as we could because there was no telling when it would be found again. Well, fast forward to present day life and you can now find sugar, fat, and salt on every corner, but your brain (which hasn’t changed in 200,000 years) doesn’t know that those substances are now abundant. We are hard wired to eat foods that if overeaten will kill a human. Pizza, bread, grain-based desserts, fruit, alcohol, and fried chicken are the most eaten foods in America. Each one of them high in sugar, bad fat and salt. We can’t help but give in.
What Can We Do
The best thing we can do as consumers is to make different choices at the grocery store. When you shop stay on the perimeter of the store. Read all the labels on packaged food. The most important things to watch out for are; mono & diglycerides, margarine, aspartame, low-fat labels, hydrogenated anything, all vegetable oils (including palm, canola, corn, safflower, cottonseed, soybean, and sunflower), sugar, salt, and pasteurized dairy. These ingredients are mutations from an original source which are then highly processed. Vegetable oils are treated so much they need an additive to mask the horrible smell they take on. Margarine is vegetable oil made to resemble butter. Pasteurized dairy is cooked at such high temperatures, all the good bacteria and nutrients that milk has naturally is destroyed. Aspartame is fake sugar found in most diet, sugar-free and low-fat foods. It is worse for you than sugar and has been linked to cancer. Pregnant women are not supposed to ingest it. One could argue that the problem lies in the human influence on basic foods. So, what is ok to eat? Basically, if it comes from the Earth and is in its original form, it’s good for your body and it contains nourishment. From an ancestral aspect, meat, fish, wild berries, veggies, nuts, seeds and starchy, fibrous plants are a complete diet. Our gut biome thrives on fermentable carbohydrates including fiber like inulin. We don’t need processed carbohydrates like breads, pastas, and rice.
The food pyramid farce that has been perpetuated by the FDA is currently ass over tea-kettle. Instead of carbohydrates at the base of the pyramid and fats at the tippy top, it should be the opposite. Our bodies, especially our brains were designed to run off good fats and a tiny bit of glucose. Nuts, coconut, avocado, seeds, sesame, olive oil, little wild fishes, these are all sources of healthy Omega 3 fats. The kind of fats that feed your brain. When choosing meat, eggs or dairy, pasture raised is the only option. Not only is the nutritional content higher and healthier, the taste is superb. Raw dairy is also important and can provide many phytonutrients and bacteria that our bodies need. Buy from local producers as often as possible. Fasting for at least 18-24 hours is super beneficial too and has been shown to have profound effects on our bodies. When you fast, autophagy is triggered. This is an increased cellular self-cleansing process. Cells clean out the bad and regenerate to fix the damage. It is technically a rebirth within your body. Fasting has been found in many ancient cultures and traditions. The easiest way to make a change is to think like a pre-historic hunter and gatherer before there was agriculture. A time when mankind had to hunt for every meal and periodically skipped one or two. When survival was key and only the strong made it. If our choices had been different, humans would not be here today. Obviously, their diets were key to our survival as a species. Don’t be overwhelmed. The path to healthier food choices is not easy. The addiction to sugar and starch is real.
You are not alone though. The more we learn, the easier it is to say no.
No to industrialized meat and oil.
No to white sugar!
No to processed food.
All we have is Bliss.