It’s hard to cut through all the advice as it relates to food. Let’s face it, you can find companies, non-profits, doctors, family members, and friends recommending all sorts of differing points of view. It can really drive you crazy. But after taking a step back from working in Big Food and doing LOTS of reading and research, I’ve focused on the following facts as the foundation for my food values:
- The Western Diet has been clearly implicated in poor health. As this processed food rich diet has spread across the globe, higher rates of obesity and Type II diabetes have followed.
- Big Food and Ag companies are driven by a profit-first mentality. While I don’t believe most the folks working at these companies want to hurt people (I know I didn’t), they’ve become caught up in a cultural machine that simply can’t see the forest from the trees. Along the way decades of abuse have exacted an unfathomable toll.
- Our true knowledge about diet and nutrition is in its infancy. At a recent speaking event one of the “fathers” of the real food movement, Michael Pollan, admitted as much so don’t be misled by other who pretend to know it all. And if you don’t believe Mr. Pollan, then just take a look at all the conflicting dietary information. While I value science, research, and “progress,” fads have rarely proven to offer much truth. So when it comes to nutrition I try to keep things simple and resist the urge to blindly follow the latest advice or fad.
- Not only are we physically paying a huge toll for processed foods, but our environment is also suffering. With its reliance on petroleum for fertilizers, toxic pesticides, and practices that lay waste to natural resources like our soil and water supplies, industrialized agriculture as we know isn’t sustainable.
- Most animals are treated inhumanely by our food system. Profits have outweighed our conscience. While many of us can plead ignorance, we can’t use that as a shield or excuse anymore. I’ve always loved animals, and while I’m not a vegetarian, I can no longer personally support a food system that’s cruel. Transparency and humane treatment of animals in our food system is vitally important to me.
While I’m sure new information and facts will arise over time and cause my beliefs to evolve, it’s the above “view of the world” has caused me to cut out processed foods from my family’s diet and has formed the basis for my personal food values.