Fixing our Food System
In the Kosterina household, we are disciples of revolutionary functional medicine doctor, Dr. Mark Hyman. I've spoken about Dr. Hyman's work here before, but I am deep into his latest book (like, with underlining and highlighting and everything). It's called Food Fix: How To Save Our Health, Our Economies, Our Communities, and Our Planet - One Bite At A Time. As I've been reading this during the covid quarantine - I realize that there's another epidemic - the epidemic of our food system - which has been largely ignored.
I want to share some of the major issues that Dr. Hyman outlines in his book - because the health of our country, our future generations, and our planet depends on it. And, in order to play a role in fixing it -- first we need to understand it.
Here's why this all matters:
- The food we eat is the biggest cause of chronic disease - over 70% of deaths worldwide come from noncommunicable, chronic conditions such as heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and dementia.
- The food industry is keeping us sick and addicted - processed foods full of sugar override our willpower. (The number one use of food stamps is for soda - a proven leading cause of obesity). Even the herbicides and pesticides farmers use are laced with hormone disrupters, neurotoxins, and carcinogens.
- Our obsession with growth is killing us - antibiotics used in industrialized animal farms to promote growth and decrease infection are a huge contributor to antibiotic resistance in humans.
- Our food system is the leading contributor to climate change - just three crops (wheat, corn, and rice) account for 60% of our food supply. US food policy subsidizes these crops. Modern corn farming methods, for example, destroy topsoil and use pesticides and herbicides that run into our water. And the corn is used for high fructose corn syrup (which is deadly) and feed for factory farms.
Well, for one - our own health depends on what we put into our mouths each day. While I'll be the first to admit it's difficult to kick sugar and salty snacks - adding "protective" foods (real, whole, unprocessed foods) to our diets instead of processed foods can help us live longer, healthier lives. When it comes to our environment and the health of our future generations, we need to focus on regenerative agriculture, making changes to our food policy, and reforming government systems.
A couple of weeks ago Bill Mahr closed his show with a monologue about our food system. He somehow managed to tie together Tiger King, Coronavirus and the US food system. Regardless of your politics, I think the last 5 minutes might be worth a listen. It was this episode (skip to minute 44). He says "If we keep producing food the way we do, we're going to get sick with something medicine cannot fix." He addresses the issue of our industrialized animal farms in the US and ends with “You keep animals in cages and look who winds up being the prisoner.”
There's a lot to digest from this book but I'll share more about Dr. Hyman's proposed solutions outlined in Food Fix in a future post.
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