I read an interesting article about Agriculture in Holland last week. The gist of it was how a little country like Holland can be the #2 exporter of food in the world. A country 1/270th the size of America. You can find the article here.
It was a refreshing article. Also, all their food is NON-GMO! (Which is unlike a lot of the United States’ export crops.) Holland became an Agricultural power house because of vision and a desire to have food security. Their goal was to produce twice as much food on half the inputs (fertilizers, water, herbicides, etc.)
They did it! Unlike American agriculture’s goal to export more GMO’s. The American food system is broken. To prove my point, in 2012 ZERO states had average obesity rates above 35%. In 2016 there were 5 states above 35%. Also interesting is that in 2012, 10 states were below the 25% average, but now only 4 states remain below the 25% threshold.
Several factors account for the obesity numbers, but I would contend that we are not going to shed those pounds just by hitting the gyms. We need a food revolution to take back our health. We need a different goal.
Thankfully, American agriculture and its food manufacturing partners can’t tell us what to eat. That is on us. We still have choices. I will concede that the processed food manufacturers are experts at marketing and lobbying. Sadly, even the healthy options merely replace one form of sugar for another, which only improves the food in minor ways. This is because many of those same companies are owned by the General Mills or Pepsi’s of the world. And they expect us to believe that their company missions are to provide healthy sustainable products that improve your health. (sarcasm intended) Anybody out there switch to the “Organic” version of the American diet and basically see no appreciable results?
Merely switching to the Organic American diet will have little or no impact on our personal health or our Nation’s health. If we are going to see lasting meaningful health benefits from the food we eat, we need to switch: 1. how we eat and 2. what we eat. Saying yes to fresh vegetables, fresh fruits and quality proteins and grains is a great start.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Congress set an “Every American Healthy” Goal for our Country to reduce the National Obesity rate by 5% by year 2023? The by-products of this goal alone would save millions of dollars in health costs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans. It would shift our food system from profits to health and from sugar and grains to vegetables and fruits and quality proteins. The environmental gains would be great because of the non-GMO and Organic farming practices implemented to produce better foods. A simple goal, but alas, it will never see the light of day because of the way our political campaigns are financed. But, as I mentioned earlier, they can’t tell us what to eat. And in the words of the poet Robert Frost, “I chose the path less travelled.” We can choose the path with little or no sugar, a path filled with hope and a better quality of life. And thankfully, we can make that choice every day. Every time you get a “Box of Good” delivered, you are on the path less travelled.
Eat heathy, Be healthy,
Health Advocate and Farmer