The State of the US Food System & Food Policy

Food Policy

I recently listened to an outstanding podcast, in which Dr. Mark Hyman, a practicing family physician, was interviewed. I have been following Dr. Hyman’s work for over 12 years now and I really like his message, which is about common sense health and wellness. This means, of course, that he butts heads with conventional medicine at times, and I love that he doesn’t back down! Today’s article is my synthesis of the key points of this podcast.

Dr. Hyman is a New York Times bestselling author, see here for more info The Pegan Diet – What is it?, an internationally recognized leader, speaker, educator, and expert in the field of health and nutrition. He is the director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, and chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine. In these various roles, Dr. Hyman works with organizations and policy makers, to improve health for everyone.

The State of the US Food System

According to Dr. Hyman, our food system “produces really bad food” with significant consequences to the public, including the following:

  • The horrible Standard American Diet (SAD), which is loaded with fast food and processed food kills 11 million people every year
  • Our current food system will cost our country approximately $95 trillion over the next 3 years, dealing with the negative health consequences of chronic disease
  • Chronic disease, caused from bad industrially produced processed food, has major multiple downstream negative effects, such as:
    • Social injustice – kids who are consistently fed these foods become cognitively impaired and have more learning issues in school. This affects poorer regions of the country in a greater proportion
    • The SAD diet has strong links to increased mental illness, violence, homicides, and suicides
  • Bad food kills more people than smoking. It might bankrupt our nation as it tries to deal with chronic disease
  • Bad food leads to threats to national security. Approximately, 70% of applicants to defense are rejected due to poor health and fitness.  Up to 75 Percent of US Youth Ineligible for Military Service
  • We have 90% less biodiversity in plants and species these days due to soil degradation, deforestation, and depleted aquifers.

    Here is a direct quote from Dr. Hyman. “If people just got off the crap and started eating real food, and literally unplugged from the industrial food system, their health would dramatically improve,” Dr. Hyman says. “We would reverse climate change. We would end social injustice and poverty. We’d have money enough for free education, and free healthcare for everybody, and can support the neediest among us with no effort, and have lots of money left over to do cool stuff and create new science, and solve all the world’s problems just by cooking at home.”

Processed Food

The processed food industry was born in the 1950’s. In 2019, the processed food industry has literally separated most of us from our kitchens. The industry was created by several Big Food companies in order to promote convenience. They did this by coming together in the mid-1950’s and creating a fictional American icon – Betty Crocker. The goal was to create convenience as an American value, thus promoting the acceptance of processed foods. Betty Crocker was not a real person but rather an iconic image on a cookbook that most American housewife’s purchased and used regularly. The heavily promoted the use of items such as Ritz crackers, canned soups, etc…all in the name of convenience.

As the “Betty Crocker” movement became more accepted, TV dinners and fast food franchises started to also gain acceptance and took off. Today, it is estimated that more Americans watch cooking shows on TV than actually cook homemade meals themselves.

However, as noted above, industrial foods are actually killing us and killing the planet. Real food is more cost effective, tastes better and is fun to prepare. It is also much simpler to cook and prepare than many believe. Google can be extremely helpful for this endeavor!

Here are a few current facts for you:

  • In 2019, lobbyists will spend approximately $500 million on the Farm Bill, with the goal of promoting monoculture and creating confusion for the American public, in an effort to protect profits for the processed food industry
  • Thirteen of twenty people on the new Guidelines Committee of the Trump administration are in bed with the food industry. In fact, the woman in charge of this committee was formerly a lobbyist for the Snack Food Association. And now she is helping to design our nutrition guidelines?

Cooking

Cooking is revolutionary. When we eat real food, it has multiple downstream affects, such as:

  • How food is grown, produced, and distributed
  • Real food changes our biology for the better
  • Cooking promotes social or community time. When you cook, you automatically learn to select the foods that make you feel the best. It enables you to control the ingredients
  • Eating and cooking real food improves the environment. Supporting monoculture (soy and corn), which is what US Food Policy is all about, leads to soil destruction, the killing of even more animals, and negatively impacts our water
  • On the other hand, sustainable animal food production is good for the environment, and this is supported by good sciences, despite vegan propaganda. The best solution for climate change is to support local, sustainable agriculture, rather than conventional meat production, which is horrible.

Summary

I fully realize that not everyone will appreciate this article, and some may even be against it. That is fine with me. All of the data is evidence based and without looking at studies, references, etc… just go to your local Walmart and take a look around. Our nation is obese, sick, and not getting better. The food we eat is causing this and lobbyists and our government are promoting it.

If you care about being healthy and aging well, you need to take action. I am not a political person but I am all about good health. Advocate for yourself and if you need help, find it. The cost of a competent nutritionist, personal trainer, dietician, wellness professional is far less than the long-term cost of drugs and doctor’s visits.

Be smart. Eat right. Be well.

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