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September 11, 2010

Food System Failures: Environmental and Political Factors

by Stephanie Carnes

It is oppressive the way in which all people are systematically hurt by the belief structures and behaviors of their society. People are forced into decisions that cause their bodies to express disease. We are lied to and made to believe that things that are harmful to health are actually good for us. Why? Because our culture is fixated on profits. In his book, Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About, Kevin Trudeau explains why the United States government, the major food companies, and the drug companies systematically promote ideas that may cause people harm.

Our current societal structure prioritizes profit above health. Health is created or destroyed by the way we set up our lives. If we eat well, we tend to be healthier. If we rest deeply and daily, we tend to be healthier. If we are close to other people, we tend to be healthier. If we exercise and spend time outdoors, we tend to be healthier. If we have a rich spiritual life, we tend to be healthier. If we nourish our emotional selves, we tend to be healthier. When all of these activities are combined, most people are going to express health genetically and not disease. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t able to pull all of those elements together.

Profitability Before Health

For example, most people don’t eat foods that support their optimal health. Most of us don’t even know what it means to eat well. Foods and all other ingestible products are produced to have long shelf lives, be conveniently transported, and to be produced with the lowest overhead and the highest profitability. Very few producers of foods, supplements, pharmaceuticals, and other bodily products place health above profitability. Most foods are available primarily for the purpose of the suppliers to make a profit and not for their high nutrient content. Diet ought never be based primarily on the needs of the economy and the way in which the economy encourages people to eat. For example, one in four people in the developed world eat at McDonald’s every day.

Limited Access to Quality Food

What are the nutritional resources that our body needs in order to be optimally healthy? What is optimal nutrition? Is it possible to practice an optimal diet within a culture that values food for profit over food for health?

The average person has very little incentive or education that would lead them to seek out and to choose optimally nutritious food. Most people have limited opportunities and motivation to choose the best possible nutrition for their body. However, access to fresh, healthy food is increasing across the board. All it takes is a little extra effort to find sources of produce, meat, and dairy that don't contain the pesticides, hormones, and additional processing.

Where Can I Find Healthy Foods?

A first step to locate economical sources of natural food might be to network in your region. Collect phone numbers and mailing, email, and Web addresses of everyone you can find who is interested in local agriculture.

Although many large supermarkets have added organic foods to their shelves, the selection is often limited. Large chain stores ought to be the last place you shop. Here’s why:
  1. Concentration on Retailing Destroys Communities: Large chains do not source locally because they need suppliers who can supply identical products to all their stores.
  2. Large Chains Destroy Small Businesses: Retail profits do not go to a local area but to shareholders who have no interest in local communities. By contrast, the money you spend locally circulates dollars in your community and generates jobs.
  3. Multinational Trade Means Greater Food Transport: Supermarkets prefer to do business with major players—even if they are around the globe. This means that the food will be transported long distances, contributing to excessive use of fuel and resultant global warming.
Try to find a local food cooperative or farmers market in your area to locate sources of healthy foods. Food cooperatives are membership-based buying organizations that distribute natural food products to consumers. Most co-ops were founded during the 1960s and 1970s to offer natural foods that most supermarkets would not sell.

By understanding how environmental and political factors influence our lives and our cultures, and by healing those scars of oppression, we will be more fully able to eradicate degenerative disease and be optimally healthy.

SOURCE: Ten Days to Optimal Health (Amelong 2006)

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