But What Will We Eat? Solving America's Health Care Crisis

The root cause of America’s health care crisis is our diets. Change our diets and watch our country regain its health.

Picture a country where many people suffer from diseases of excess eating as well as nutritional deficiencies. The family farmer has been replaced by a centralized agricultural system. Politics and profit, rather than the health of the nation, seem to be driving food production. Agribusiness has replaced the wisdom, moral values and pride of individual farmers. A sad commentary on the United States? No, this is the ancient history of the Roman Empire, just before its collapse.

With the dawn of the new administration in Washington, we are, hopefully, going to reverse the decline our country has been on, but how will we reverse our current nutritional decline? In the nutrition arena, there certainly has been a recent outcry for getting back to basics and whole foods, not by the powers that be, but by we, the people. There is an unofficial, grassroots organization of individuals who care about the nutritional quality of what they eat and where their food comes from. They demonstrate their concern and pass on their beliefs everyday by making choices to live a healthful life.

In our country’s past, Thomas Jefferson was a staunch proponent of whole foods and the family farm. He wrote many essays and letters on how to keep the country strong by providing people with nourishing whole foods. Jefferson knew that nutritious food provided health and vitality to individuals. He had studied the history of the Roman Empire and knew that a degraded, centralized food supply resulted in a weak and sick populace. In the 1780’s, he said, “Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens…they are most vigorous.” and “Agriculture…is our wisest pursuit because it will, in the end, contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness…”

Big agriculture started taking over our food production in the 1970’s when the government decided to subsidize corn and soybean production, making it very profitable for large farms. Smaller farms were put out of business. The processed food industry made quick use of all the cheap corn, corn oil, soybean oil and other related products, creating food which is not necessarily nutritious, but just has to look and taste good enough to turn a profit. American advertising agencies reap a small annual fortune conjuring up clever ways to sell denatured and toxic food to our people, especially children.

If one believes in wholesome foods as a way of feeding the brain and the body for optimal functioning, then one can see why there should be major concern for our young. The unhealthy oils, chemicals and dyes that are routinely added to processed food are now being implicated in many disorders and diseases such as attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD.) Soft drinks are doled out in huge cups to kids, spiking their blood sugar levels and disturbing the digestion process with too much liquid. In the 1960’s a Coke was sold in a 6 oz. bottle made with real sugar and was a once-in-a-while-treat. Since high fructose corn syrup is a cheap sugar substitute, as much as 32 ounces of sweet liquid laden with toxic dye accompanies many junk food meals today. The volume of high fructose corn syrup we are consuming on a daily basis is taxing on our liver and has been indicated as a factor in obesity, especially in children. The sickness of our youth and the expectancy that they will continue to decline is vividly illustrated by the American Association of Pediatrics’ recent decision to allow children as young as eight to be given statin drugs. We know that there are side effects for adults on this therapy. How can we possibly know what statin drugs will do to developing bodies?

In America, some of the hungriest and malnourished people are overweight. Many do not have access to fresh food because they live in cities or the cost of the fresh food is prohibitive. The poor are subsisting on fast and junk food because it is cheap and readily available, yet it is virtually devoid of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fats. People who eat food devoid of nutrients are eating constantly because the body’s mechanism for hunger and satiety control has been short-circuited by fake food. A diet of junk food also results in degenerative illness such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes type 2. Many of these afflictions disappear when fresh, whole foods are introduced.

The food industry in this country has betrayed the public trust. It is widely known that government agencies charged with safeguarding our food and nutrition are heavily lobbied by the food processing industry and big agriculture to safeguard their interests as well. Putting profits before people and health is not healthy for our future. We need to get back to basic cooking with whole foods so subsequent generations will carry this wisdom forward.

What you can do

  • Take charge of your health. Research whether your condition can be alleviated through dietary changes. Try books, the Internet, support groups.
  • Eat food that is whole or as close to whole as possible.
  • Start cooking and involve your children and family so everyone learns.
  • Read food labels, buy local, organic and USA grown.
  • Make food choices that favor quality over quantity.
  • Stick with it, even if it takes years to accomplish.

Beth Colon, MS, HHP, of Holistic Nutrition Services LLC, is a holistic nutritional consultant offering nutritional therapies for digestive disorders, hormone imbalance and other issues in Southborough, MA. She can be reached at 978-340-0448 or visit www.holisticnutritionservices.com