Food can be one of the great delights of being alive. It will be a delight if you follow our approach. Food is essential for life. Food can be the most basic sensual enjoyment available to us. Well prepared and presented, food offers a pallet of colors, an aromatic carnival of smells, a play of tastes and textures. Every baby spends every other moment putting everything possible into their mouths to sample and explore. Everything is food to a baby, or is at least worth testing, to see if it is food.
Food is mother's milk. Food is nourishing and nurturing. Love is the union of the lover and the beloved, first learned at our mother's breast. As mammals, our relationship to food, good or bad, starts from this critical point.
As we become able to cook, food brings the opportunity to apply skills and give the gift of preparing satisfying meals, with intelligence, creativity and care. Food can be in candlelight and quiet or with beer, music, raucous and rowdy. Breaking bread is the most important cultural opportunity for sharing love, conversation and community. Food that is nourishing and nutrient dense and also rich and delightful to our pallet, is core. Food for Health AND Pleasure, is not an oxymoron, it is hand and glove. It is also a healing act that reaches way down into our genetics. The East West Healing Arts Center clinic, located in Oakland, California, and in Talent, Oregon (between Medford and Ashland) provides you with excellent natural medical care and nutrition counseling & coaching. If you want to eat great food that helps you Live Longer and Live Stronger contact us by phone at 541-535-4325 or email us.
Eating for Health and Pleasure Page Table of Contents
1) Programs & Tests to Make Food Healthy Information For You & Your Genes
2) BioImaging® Intuitive Eating: Maintaining Healthy Weight and Fitness Without Temptation or Deprivation
3) The Most FAQ About the Intuitive Eating Program
4) Traditional Culinary Wisdom vs. Modern Industrial Diets
5) Food Bathes Our Bodies in Information: Are you Eating Good News or Bad?
6) Sacred Knowledge of the Great Food Circle
7) The Industry's Vision of Food and Why You Should Care
8) Why "Cheap" Food is So Expensive: The Hidden Costs
9) Short-Term Economic and Ecological Fix a Long-Term Disaster
10) Corn and Soy: Dynamic Duo Wearing Deceptive Masks & Food Labels
11) The Forgotten Past and Shaky Future of Farming
12) Money and Politics: Killing the U.S. Farmer and Killing Agriculture Globally
13) What's Your Beef?
14) Nitrogen: From Ecological Farm Resource to a Feed-lot Pollutant
15) How Women Unknowingly Gave Away the Keys to the Larder & Keys to Health
16) Our Food Dilemma: A Peak After Peek Oil
17) Sacred Knowledge & the Sacred Hearth vs Modern Economic Forces
18) Chaos: Small Changes Huge Consequences
19) May the Force Be With Women & the Sacred Again
20) Men Have Had Their Sacred Power Usurped Too
21) From Sacred Knowledge of Nourishment to Empty Calories and Junk Food
22) American Founding Fathers Saw the Handwriting, the Wall We Would Hit, & Gave Us the Legal Tools to Prevent Fascism
23) Agribusiness and Sacred Knowledge: a Summary
Programs & Tests to Make Food Healthy Information For You & Your Genes
Most chronic disease is generated by a combination of our environment and our genes. The biggest dialogue our genes have with our environment is based on: the selection and preparation of food, our attitude towards eating and the smells of food, and the functional ability of our digestive system to digest, which, in turn, determines our gut's relationship with the 10 trillion microflora that live there. Thus the cook and the diner have more to say about if we Live Longer Live Stronger than anyone, including your doctor. This is good news! It puts much of the power to Live Longer Live Longer, in your hands.
But one man's meat is another man's poison. In our practice we identify foods that are poorly tolerated by your unique body. We then use acupuncture treatments (needleless) to desensitize the offending food, to allow you to later reincorporate many of these foods.
We help you understand exactly what and how much your body wants to eat. Food Quantity tests quickly and accurately solve the difficult problem of finding what amounts and ratios of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and fiber your body is requesting at each meal.
We find how well you are, or aren't, supplying critical micronutrients to your body, using a test called the Mineral Vitamin Test. This test focuses on the amounts and need for micronutrients to help you know what nutrient dense foods to increase and what supplements you need to optimize your function and improve energy metabolism. This test is also used to determine if critical biochemical pathways are functioning at a suboptimal level. If so, a special BIochemical Acupuncture treatment (needleless) is recommended to improve the biochemical pathway. [Slow biotransformation tends to keep our supplement needs high, to compensate for the sluggish pathway (by shifting the mass concentration of the substrate higher.)]
We also use this acupuncture treatment to correct poor toleration of a vitamin, which may be noticeable or subliminal. This intervention can improve the functioning of dozens or even hundreds of enzymes in the body, helping you have the optimum health and longevity. This acupuncture treatment can reduce the amount of supplements you need to take to achieve the same benefit by 50-90%. For example, when people get nauseous at the smell of B complex vitamins, it is a certain sign they have a biochemical pathway problem with one or more B vitamins. Often B2, which is important in carbohydrate and energy metabolism and mucous membranes or B1, important in energy production and neurological function.
Margaret Shockley, N.C. presents her popular and inspiring Eating for Health and Pleasure Classes. These classes are usually given as eight 2 hour classes. Although, she periodically holds two full day classes. Contact us by phone at 541-535-4325 or email us.
Margaret, also schedules individual or family consultations. The consultations are either in-person, at our Oregon rural office, or by phone, for out-of-town clients. She has helped a great many clients profoundly change their relationship towards food and cooking. This alone has helped resolve numerous symptoms and accelerated their healing response to other treatments.
Intuitive Eating: Maintaining Healthy Weight and Fitness Without Temptation or Deprivation
Intuitive Eating is eating is a part of a BioImaging® assessment our energy metabolism and digestive/excretory organs. Intuitive Eating is eating in a way that is consistent with health and nurtures an easy to maintain tendency to make smart food choices-- to help you naturally Live Longer and Live Stronger. After a while it is much easier to eat this way than it is to eat lousy food or the wrong amounts of food. You can easily access good eating Intuition once we have rebooted a "clean copy" of our body's food intuition program. You need food intuition that is not "buggy", not trying to catch up with previous imbalances of blood sugar or some other macronutrient excess or deficiency.
We also help you hear your inner Intuitive Eating voice by improving your digestion so you can handle the types and amounts of foods your body wants. To do this, we test you fresh at breakfast time to fund out exactly what your body, yours uniquely, needs. Through energetic testing we will fit the macronutrient needs of carbohydrate, oils, protein and fiber.
Intuitive Eating a is a discovery that optimizes your health, often normalizes your weight, and maximizes your vitality. You will enjoy eating nourishing and nurturing meals, that make you feel great afterwards; no post-meal sleepy tired 'fuzzy brain' feelings. You will not have sudden craving for salt, fats, or sweets when you eat intuitively. No between-meal crashes, that send you running around looking for snacks. Intuitive Eating increases the number of high quality, aware moments in your day. It is a major breakthrough in self-empowerment.
There are too many 'mega-hyped' diet plans to even count. Every other celebrity and doctor, it seems, is required to make their fortune by yet another diet book and stint on Oprah. Most know little about nutrition. Some may have had great results and they may truly believe that their experience will translate to you. Which, for a few people, with similar metabolisms, it will. However, the majority will respond in different ways, some good and some bad.
There are weight loss diets that seem great for everybody, in the short run, but beware, these diets can cause weight gain and health problems, in the long run. Included in this category are the high-protein-low-fat or the high-carb-low-fat diets competing with each other today.
At East West Healing Arts Center we work with you to find a individualized"diet" that gives the best results for your particular body type.
Intuitive Eating is different from any other approach to food because it is tailored to what your own unique body needs right now . So please read the following with a 'Beginners Mind', as if you knew nothing about 'diets', knew nothing about 'nutrition', and knew nothing about how hard it is to change what we eat.
Eating intuitively is eating according to our deep body wisdom. It is not a diet. It is reclaiming the knowledge of what foods and how much food our energy needs require and what needs building in our body. When we eat what our body needs, it feels right, with no between meal food cravings. The late afternoon energy dips, that leave you, grazing in 'hunter gatherer' mode, in front of the fridge, will be memories.
It just feels right. You get hungry at mealtimes and food isn't an issue till the next meal. Benefits include weight normalization, without restrictive low calorie dieting, enjoyment of nurturing and nourishing food, optimum energy, and mental clarity. Intuitive Eating is a strong foundation for additional specific work on increased longevity, disease prevention, and for healing specific medical problems, with herbs and acupuncture. Intuitive Eating is the only precise, customized method, that leads to weight normalization, as a "free" secondary effect of getting healthier.
Like most of our cutting edge programs, it is a revolutionary new approach, that harkens back to the best of ancient culinary traditions. We eat the weight equivalent of about one Volkswagen per year. This program is for people who can understand that what we eat, day after day, has a big impact on how we feel and our health. Contact us by phone at 541-535-4325 or email us.
The Most FAQ About the Intuitive Eating Program
FAQ: "I tend to eat what I feel like or what I feel is best for me, isn't that intuitive eating?
Answer: No. Not in the beginning anyway, though in the end it will be very much like that.
For most of us in this culture when we eat what feels or tastes good, this is usually just compensation. We are compensating, in the short-term, for previous poor nutrition choices, earlier that day, that month, that year. And this works, sort of. They show our body's is intelligent, but this kind of compensation is only a temporary fix. A self-medication. For example, when we are hypoglycemic we tend to eat sugary foods or intolerated foods, both will, in the short-term, improve how we feel. But in the long run...
We also call this kind of compensation "self-medication", but not Intuitive Eating. Vegetarians who eat a lot of carbohydrates lose the ability to process protein in many cases. So they would say they "intuitively avoid", we would say, "self-medicate", by avoiding foods , especially meats, they now can only digest poorly. Once their hydrochloric acid levels have come up, then the physiological avoidance evaporates. They "reboot" a more accurate reflection of their true protein needs. The low protein high grain vegetarian approach is not really based on health or the environment. A balance vegetarian diet It can be a valid healthy and ethical choice for some. The same thinking goes for helping sugar cravers. We help the person get past the sugar craving by changing their physiology. If this subject is of interest to you and you wish to learn more, please contact us by phone at 541-535-4325 or email us.
Traditional Culinary Wisdom vs. Modern Industrial Diets
Studies make clear that people from other traditional 'smart culinary cultures' who adopt our highly processed industrialized "dumb" foods soon suffer the high rates of degenerative ills of our culture: cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and eating disorders. The family farm and farmer's markets have been replaced, in this century, by a food industry.
On the other hand, your body is a health and healing genius, and we have discovered a way to listen to it and communicate its needs back to you. We recognize it is hard for us, as members of this petrochemical agribusiness cuisine culture, to listen and know how to be conscious and intelligent surrounded by our 'nourishment and nutrition challenged' culture. We have become used to nutritionally stripped fare and have forgotten, if we ever knew, that it could be much much better. We do see the negative results in our weight. There is a national obsession about weight, but the true causes of our obesity are not popularly discussed.
Vegetarian and other more thoughtful food approaches work well for some people if done correctly. Any truly holistic approach can be accommodated within the framework of specific food suggestions and your general outline of optimal amounts of protein, fats, oils, carbohydrates, and fiber. This can be a challenge. For example, one strict ovo-vegetarian client with Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome needed 50 g. of protein at breakfast and over 90 g. of protein by the end of the day! When we got him up to this amount, balanced with his other needs, he felt much better and he is beginning to gain back the muscle he lost in his protracted illness.
Who is this program for? Intuitive Eating is not a diet. It is a way of training yourself to hear what your individual body intelligence wants at this phase of your life. Over time, as you re-learn how to listen to your body, it becomes a no-effort approach to great eating.
Intuitive Eating is for people who want to eat tasty, nourishing foods, in satisfying quantities and diverse varieties, that reflect what their body intelligence wants. This is for people who are willing to change what and how much they eat. If you have ever worked on engines, you intuitively know you need the perfect mix of air and fuel in a carburetor to get the most power out of a purring engine. If you have ever gardened, you intuitively know that the right mix of sunshine, air, water, and soil nutrients is needed to grow green gorgeous plants. If you follow your body's eating intuition you will feel empowered and gorgeous.
Intuitive Eating is practical and cost-effective. We will teach you how to rapidly fill a crock pot with food in the morning, so that the aroma of a complete cooked meal awaits your return at dinner. It is not about deprivation. We will teach you how to make great desserts, such as, chocolate chip cookies, cakes, puddings, etc. that people prefer over the most expensive Bay Area dessert shops.
After eating in accordance with our body wisdom for one to three months, the physiological deficits and urgencies, that we previously sought to placate, are replaced with a deeper agenda of eating for the best energy, regeneration, and replenishment. We regain an intuitive connection for what is right for our body and mind. Moreover, cravings for food reduce until we are only left with habits revolving around "comfort foods," foods eaten to fill an emotional bottomless hole. Thus, changing foods helps to distinguish what your stress issues are. Of course, foods are poor substitutes for true emotional comfort. This stressful emotional pain is better addressed in MindMapping®-- Stress Diagnostics and Resolution. Come and join us to eat right and eat well!
Please contact us by phone at 541-535-4325 or email us.
Food Bathes Our Bodies in Information: Are you Eating Good News or Bad?
Most of us eat the weight in food equivalent to a small car every year. That means we eat two tons a year of information.
Why information? Because every food molecule is information. It forms and informs the flora in out gut and the gut cells themselves which eventually inform cells throughout our body, including our brain.
How does it occur for our body as information? Every molecule of food modifies the intestinal cell membranes and plasma membranes/cell walls of flora living in the gut. In turn, the now stimulated intestinal cells send secondary messages to the nucleus of the cell which changes the the chemicals the cell factory produces and releases into the blood stream effecting the whole body. Similarly, the released chemicals from the food stimulated bacteria and yeast, collectively called our gut flora, communicate with other flora and with our gut cells. The wrong food and/or the flora sends the wrong message to your whole body. The messages are communicated to the rest of the body via chemical and energetic pathways.
The sheer volume of information we receive from outside means that we need to make our yearly consumption from foods that are good for our unique selves. It also means that the art of food, the art of nourishing our body, mind and spirit, is a sacred area of knowledge. It is a sacred trust that, as you will read below, we can not blindly rely on all profit driven institutions to fulfill with integrity. To those companies that provide food with integrity, we salute you.
This sacred knowledge of food is still valued and is cherished in Asian cultures which have traditionally centered most important rituals, from celebration of a business success to marriage, around food.
When I lived in China in the early 80's I never saw an obese person. This observation includes the financially much better off island of Taiwan. They were not thin because they were starving or dieting, they were thin because their cuisine matched their intuitive eating choices. If you look at old photos and read medical information from the US in the 1800's you will find obesity was very rare here, and not so long ago. What happened?
The entire concept of "dieting" is a very recent phenomena. It harkens back to a propaganda campaign by the US government that began as food rationing was needed during the two world wars. Dainty eating and a rail thin look was promoted as a patriotic duty for women who were normal sized. It was considered a moral duty to eat like little delicate birds to save meat and calories for the fighting men. This was even as women, like Rosie the Riveter, shouldered many traditionally physically demanding male jobs.
Now in 21st century China, where western food practices and the golden arches have invaded through Red Army defenses, obesity and eating disorders are for the first time emerging as a health problem. Here in the West, there are no lack of highly promoted "diet plans". Diets may work for some, but many have big health drawbacks and are hard to "stick to". They often have nutritionally problematic effects that create physiological deficits. These deficits, in turn, result in craving and a sense of deprivation while 'on' the diet. Regression 'off' the diet is rapid. Those who are looking for answers are confused by the plethora of competing claims. Why not forget the diet and ask for the wisdom of Intuitive Eating ?
However, the arch-Golden Arches are making insidious inroads even in these food "smart" cultures. In the younger generations the Confucian reverence for teachers and family values has been eroded in China by the corrupt communist dictatorship and in Japan by hegemonic corporate and mafia (Yakuza) control of the economy.
In addition, the targeted food chemistry science, like the tobacco industry before it, scientifically calculates the promote of addiction rather than nourishment. This misuse of the scientific process can target vulnerabilities in all humans, no matter their location. We know from the years of the Opium wars in Asia and from the studies of various kinds of addiction in the West that all humans are susceptible to addiction. Therefore, obesity and fast-food cultures are making rapid in-roads in Asia, though it has a long way to go before it reaches the pandemic rates of weight and type II diabetes seen here.
We call the nourishing knowledge that a healthy individual, family and community cannot prosper without the Sacred Hearth. In the Sacred Hearth Seminar we provide transformative and informative seminars to reclaim the sacred knowledge about Nourishing self, family and community, which has been largely lost to us. A discussion from the point of view of the social effects of losing sacred knowledge is continued below. If this subject is of interest to you and you wish to learn more, please contact us by phone at 541-535-4325 or email us.
Sacred Knowledge of the Great Food Circle
We take food for granted nowadays. Or we may obsess over it. But few understand where food comes from and which foods really nourish our own body. This sacred knowledge, the Way of Food, has been lost by most people. Sacred Knowledge has been replaced by advertising "knowledge"-- which has created the greatest historical era of food related disease ever seen.
Not surprisingly then, most of us are intellectually confused about what to eat and have an emotionally problematic relationship with food. Nowadays we see a previously unheard of ambivalence about food, a clear necessity of life. At worst, this can lead to death in problems such as anorexia. Frequently it just leads to diabetes, obesity and other illnesses that cause suffering and premature death. Nutritional mistakes account for as much as 3/4 of our chronic disease. Living our urban lives, eating industrially prepared and preprocessed food, we have become divorced from basic facts about food. We have lost sight of the big food picture, as well.
Perhaps we intuitively knew to also pray to help change the life form that had sacrificed itself to be our food. We knew we were a partner in that life form's transformation process: from mere chemistry into a Sacred Food. American indians acknowledged this sacrifice of the individual life forms they took in hunting with prayer and thanksgiving every time they ate. They blessed the food and it nourished them. Japan's Masaru Emoto in The Messages of Water has shown how blessing with love and respect changes and transforms the essence of the blessed.
The picture on the left was created by the thought of "Adolf Hitler", on the right by focused loving prayer.
From the point of view of Sacred Knowledge food is part of a great universal story of cycling and recycling. It is an important story to know. Food was a primary focus for 7 million years of hominid development and 130,000 years of modern human development. It was part of sacred traditions at every step from planning the hunt or planting the carefully preserved and selected seeds, harvesting, preparing and eating. Now food is an object for purchase at the grocery store. Food is more.
A food creation story for the modern human might go like this:
Food is the grand and ancient story of birth, death and rebirth. Food is recycling on both grand galactic and microscopic atomic scales. At its most basic food is a product of light from our sun that plants have captured on our planet. Plants stored this "starlight energy" in the biochemical form of starches. Plants combine the energy gifted from the sun with minerals made in previous generations of stars that made up the dust that made our planet. Oxygen is the aggressive chemical gift that makes dynamic animal life possible. Animals burn, or oxidizes, digested food inside our cells. The oxygen was created by plants over the last 3.5 billion years. Animals consume starch and digest it into simple sugars which is the right "fuel" for our cells. In this way we gain energy. That energy is then used to fuel every activity. Life interacts in interconnected webs of ecology and evolution. Plants and animals, from humble and simpler origins, have explored fantastic complexity, efficiency, intelligence, community, beauty and dynamic grace for billions of years. Our human omnivore's greater brain capacity may have resulted from the intelligence required to obtain, process, share and communicate information about our complex and varied menu.
The matter and energy of our solar system, of life, came from generations of stars recycling, birthing and dying, only to be born again. Over eons the universe has created life that can contemplate the universe that created it. Life too dies. Although death is a taboo subject in much of our society, the dead are, in turn, devoured and return as resources for future plants and animals.
A disastrous result of the industrial revolution was the degradation of knowledge, skill and pride in craft to an interchangeable churlish hourly wage and the eventual commodification of everything, including the Sacred Knowledge of Food. The Luddites were not so much anti-technology as they were rebelling against the loss of sacred knowledge of craft, the living world and food. In fact, technology exists that maintains, supports and extends our Sacred Knowledge. This is not technology you will see advertised on TV. The corporate heathens, with only a fiduciary responsibility to their stockholder's bottom line, care nothing for the sacred traditions of food, except as an advertising opportunity to exploit. We can't blame them really. We have given them keys to the Food Kingdom, the keys to the larder, to the control of our health and well being.
We teach you how to reclaim your Sacred Knowledge birthright, your deathright, your rebirthright. There are basic spiritual dimensions to food that our urban Industrial lives have made us oblivious to, but every traditional "grass" farmer knows. Food is the great recycling transforming story of creation and death. Food is the spiritual recognition that our lives are perpetuated by the sacrifice of our food: the death of other life forms and their transformation into our body. How we help our food "cross the great water" reflects on us spiritually. Most spiritual traditions pray, give thanks, before they eat.
How we die ourselves determines if we will participate in that recycling sacrifice of ourselves to feed and enrich the next cycle of life. Will we pass on enlivening crystal beauty of will we become ugly energy? We can futilely attempt to avoid the great Food cycle. In our so-called civilization we can, and do, deny all the great cycles.
Or we can choose to link the simple ignorant lines into life affirming death accepting circles again. We can say no to modern denial of death conventions about rituals of chemical toxicity of our corpse and eventually make the same gift of our husk of body back to the earth and life when we die. The same gift we ask of our food. How we live in the reality of death and rebirth is an important question. The way that we raise or treat those life forms that sustain and nurture us, how we treat the land, air and water that nurture life, and the way we sacrifice our food sources for ourselves, are central concerns of any real spiritual practice. Assuring that food is enlivening, healthy and nourishing to ourselves and our animal friends is a sacred trust. We are stewards of that sacred trust. These are the spiritual and permaculture principles we use at our ranch to live with clarity and without hypocrisy or cruelty. If this subject is of interest to you and you wish to learn more, please contact us by phone at 541-535-4325 or email us.
The Industry's Vision of Food and Why You Should Care
This image of food, as nurturing and life sustaining for us and our planet, is what we call "sacred knowledge". It describes what we want to be eating. The other side of the coin, is what you want to avoid putting in your mouth. Unfortunately your supply of food, and your health, are under concerted attack from a new kind of pseudo-food that is the opposite of sacred food knowledge. Industrial Food is profane and sickening in many ways. Many of the specifics in the discussion below are taken from the excellent and readable book The Omnivore's DIlemma. To understand why you should care about the food you are eating, why your health and your family's health is under attack by Industrial Food and it's army of cute marketing efforts, many directed at manipulating impressionable young children, then read on.
Why "Cheap" Food is So Expensive: The Hidden Costs
Since the 1950's ironically named "Green Revolution" industrial food producers in the U.S. have been producing a lot of seemingly "cheap food". Almost all of this abundance are doctored, modified and gussied up versions of two plants: #2 corn and soy. These are the rotational crop partners in the field. These foods are cheap to buy in raw form--but as they come out of the field they are not edible or desirable and won't be bought by you. General Mills buys 4 cents of this corn and soy "commodities" as cheap raw material for its cavernous chemical "value added" vats. They will turn the commodity into sweet cute advertisements, call it a "breakfast cereal" and you will pay 4 dollars for 4 cents of corn and soy. Still, a MacBurger and MacCoke are cheap in the sense of the immediate price you pay for the astounding amount of calories you receive. It IS also cheap in the sense of poor quality. But "Green Revolution" Industrial Food is not really cheap if you include the many hidden costs.
Industrial food comes with so many hidden costs that it actually is the most highly subsidized and expensive "food" the world has ever seen. It is not cheap because of "free-market" forces, invisible hands, or successes of laissez faire capitalism, the darlings of economic rationales. It is cheap because of oligarchic cabals of a few very large corporations and their bought-and-paid-for-servant--the U.S. government have made our food supply high quantity and low quality. U.S. taxes and agricultural policies make we, the people, and our environment, sick. These policies also make our farmers and our once thick, rich soil, destitute. These policies make a very few people, very very rich. We encourage you to get off this profane meal train. Don't support the "tapeworm" sucking our country's guts. We can show you how to live off the Industrial food grid, we are largely doing it right now. If this subject is of interest to you and you wish to learn more, please contact us by phone at 541-535-4325 or email us.
Industrialized food is not really even "food" in the nurturing, biologically balanced, classic meaning of the word. The hidden costs of Industrial food include damage to your health, i.e., obesity, mad cow disease, diabetes, cancer, etc. It will result in damage to our genetics that will bring suffering for generations to come. Industrial food is more of a calorie laden nutrient empty slow toxin that fools the eye, nose and stomach into thinking it is real food. The taste of industrial food must be added after it comes out of it's chemical vats like widgets leave a production line. New Jersey food chemists come up with a chemical brew of tastes to fool your tongue and nose into thinking the bland Industrial Food is actually--real food. Every brand name food franchise pays for its special patented chemical fraud taste formula.
As the movie Supersize Me shows, just a month on corporate fare can make a healthy person a medical basket case. Industrial Food supply generates the lion's share of our national health care costs, which you subsidize. The Food Industry has almost certainly has, or will, contribute to your own health care expenses.
To get an idea of how much money is involved in hidden food costs, imaging if you could keep in your pocket 80% of your health insurance premiums, assuming you can afford them at all, and 70% of your taxes. If you then used some of that money to buy nurturing food, and took a reasonable amount of time to prepare and enjoy "sacred food" then you would reap the benefits of lowered health care costs and the immeasurable worth of feeling good. As it stands now, the money health insurance companies and the IRS takes are secondary subsidies for the Factory food corporate machine that is joined at the hip with the military-industrial complex and Big Oil. You could say your insurer, your doctor, most restaurants, the grocery store and the IRS are just additional collection agencies for these mega-corporations.
Industrial food production is daily creating new diseases that we have few defenses against as well as creating antibiotic resistant strains of "old" nasty diseases. Industrial food gives us fattening empty calories that leave us malnourished and vulnerable to opportunistic diseases. Industrial medicine makes occasional token protest of it's sister Food industry's worst practices. Industrial medicine, just as in other previous industrial related diseases is dragging its feet, happily denying there is even a problem, while the Food Industry perpetuates and perpetrates an assault on our health greater than the tobacco and asbestos industries combined. It is conservatively estimated that 60-80% of the biggest diseases killers are being driven by nutritional problems. The hidden costs of Industrial food also includes severe damage to the environment that sustains all life.
The biologically sustainable farm has virtually disappeared and has been replaced with food factories that pollute on a staggering scale. The hidden costs of this pollution are being immorally deferred to our children and the future. Ironically, the manure that provided nitrogen to crops on the old family farm, in a closed local nutrient loop, has been lost on farms, displaced by the subsidized cheap nitrogen supplied by oil derived fertilizer. Before the "green Revolution" a rotation of crops and a diversity of farm animal' manure helped provided nitrogen for grains. Please contact us by phone at 541-535-4325 or email us.
Short-Term Economic and Ecological Fix a Long-Term Disaster
In the "old days", before 1950 and the advent of Industrial Food processing that brought us SPAM in WWII, the farm took management skills that most CEO's would envy. The complex management and constant innovation needed to juggle animals and crops along with tree orchards, family gardens, canning and drying, produced the original "can-do" inventive genius in the hardy men and women living in the country. The well-managed farm wasted nothing. Everything was recycled. Every end-product was a resource for another nutrient cycle. These farms produced little or no toxins. These biologically balanced farms created 2-3 calories of vegetable calorie for every 1 calorie of input. They had far better efficiency than the fragile barren monoculture Industrial farm that have replaced it today.
Industrial Food is built on corn and soy. Industrial corn requires at least 2 calories of oil energy input for 1 calorie of corn output. A net loss. Processed foods and feedlot corn-fed beef take at least 10 calories of oil to make each calorie of poor quality food. This can only last as long as oil is cheap. And you may have noticed--it's not so cheap anymore. The monoculture farm only exists, only makes economic sense, because of a few decades worth of "cheap oil" flooding the market. This food economy exists only due to the windfall of billions of years of accumulated oil reservoirs.
Industrial Food, in the long haul, is a big energy and resource loser. It's fundamental economics are flawed. This is obscured by our living, like a trust fund baby going quickly through their inheritance, off the legacy of ancient captured sunlight in the form of oil. But it is only in the crazy black is white economics logic that assumes, incorrectly, that resources are infinite, and that waste and pollution are good things for the GNP, can this biologically stupid approach to farming seem "economical". Good economics is ultimately synonymous with good resource and energy balancing. Renewable energy plays by this solar balance sheet. It is only in atomic power can we get a real free lunch. Only in fusion, not yet available for energy, can we have a non-polluting new energy source not tied to the sun, because we would create new "sun" energy.
Corn and Soy: Dynamic Duo Wearing Deceptive Masks & Food Labels
Industrial corn sucks up nutrients like a plant vacuum. Even with synthetic oil derived fertilizer supplying nitrogen, corn needs to be planted in alternation with a legume, like soy, to keep the soil from becoming barren. This requires the farmer to produce a lot of soy, which until recently was not considered to be directly consumable by humans. It can be fed, in moderation, to some animals. The Chinese eventually learned to use soy to make bacterially processed Tofu, Tempeh and the Japanese make Natto. In moderation, these "one step removed" fermented products are very healthy. But without suitable processing the soy is inedible.
The soy inedibility problem for Industrial Food became a "value added" opportunity for it's chemical vats. Simply declare soy is a health food, even if you take short cuts on traditional processing methods, and tout the high protein content of soy. Make the food soy a "medicine", a neutraceutical. Sure enough, scientists found some components of soy, diazin and genestin, have health benefits in women's breast cancer. Unfortunately, these same components, and others, have detrimental effects on health as well--they forget to advertise that. See the Weston Price site for a discussion of this scientific soy shell game.
The Forgotten Past and Shaky Future of Farming
Meanwhile, most smart farmers saw the handwriting on the wall, they left the farm for the city lights and a livable wage. Thousands more farmers quit every month. Earl Butz, one villain of this story, famously said "Get big or get out". Now a vast agricultural KnowledgeBase has been lost. Our species is squandering a 10,000 year old heritage of cultural knowing about truly economic=ecological food production that originally gave us opportunities beyond our immediate animal capabilities. This is a high price to pay for the corporations to make a fast buck. In the vicinity Around our ranch in Oregon, we seldom meet young farmers. Some of the older farmers have a rich and irreplaceable treasure trove of knowledge about this place in Oregon, but they have no one interested coming up behind them to pass this legacy on to.
A few innovative young farmers and ranchers ones are bucking the trend and staying on the farm, but not many. A few have taken the principles of Permaculture and other post-industrial farming approaches and are coming to the farm for the first time. They are attempting to renew the well of sacred food knowledge. We need to encourage and support these efforts locally in our buying habits, because the market as a whole is geared towards low price over an understanding of good quality. THe Buy local, Buy Organic and Slow Cooking Movements are all bucking the Industrial Food trend.
If we don't encourage the return of the family farm, if we don't protect the certified organic liable, then we won't have any smart and seasoned farmers and ranchers when the oil boom inevitably goes bust. Who will feed us when the soil is played out and eroded away, when the best land is a toxic cleanup site and running a truly efficient farm will even be a more difficult challenge than it was for our forefathers? How many smart people will be willing and able to feed us--especially when they now have to pay steeply for the privilege of working their butts off, working for free, or worse, working at a loss?
Farming has become unprofitable in this country--by conscious design. This anti-farmer pro-corporate policy was engineered in the 1970's by Nixon's ex-Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz who, despite his folksy style, was in bed with the Food Industry, the Wizard of Oz chemical middlemen. The farmers, inadvertently, cost Nixon politically when, after Nixon allowed a US wheat surplus sale to hungry Soviets. U.S. farmers had a weather induced poor crop harvest the following season. With our grain reserves now sent to the Soviet Union we had a shortage in the U.S.. Consumers had to pay increased costs due to short supplies and high demand. This price hike was politically unpopular. Mom's boycotted grocery stores and Republicans faced electoral losses. As we may remember from post Watergate accounts, Nixon was a vindictive, petty and paranoid man. He never forgot an "enemy". Through Butz, he intentionally sacrificed the future of farmers for politically expediency and payback. He set up a baroque anti-incentive system that assured that the farmer's produce would never again be in short supply and the farmer would never again see a rise in the price for his product.
But Nixon can't shoulder all the blame. Every President since has continued the trend to undermine farmers and dismantle the protections set up by Roosevelt's New Deal. Every year since then, just like the sorcerer's apprentice, even though US farmers produce more and more corn, they fall farther and farther into debt. Each year farmers are forced to produce more corn than can be used, which drives the demand and price of corn down farther. The new subsidy structure that replaced the old Depression era "New Deal-help the farmer" loans, just forces the farmer to grow more. So he tragically becomes his own worst enemy, as he cuts costs, improves his mirage of cheap plentiful oil based "efficiency", and increases yield as the incentive encourage him to do, he further reduces the price he receives while at the same time his farm doesn't actually produce any food edible by humans.
To understand why the farmer get nothing useful from government programs it is necessary to know that US government farming policies are mostly written by the powerful corporate monopolies, the chemical wizard middlemen, in the Food Industry--such as Cargill and ADM. They are the ones getting rich, not farmers. They don't actually grow the food, they just chemically manipulate and adulterate it. They take none of the real risk of farming yet have used their monopolies and pet regulators to assure they will receive below cost inexhaustible raw corn and soy "commodities". They "industrialized" a complex biological process for their own economic gain, to everyone else's loss. They have artificially driven the price of a bushel of corn lower every year for 3 decades. Now it costs $2.40 per bushel to produce and $1.40 is the price the farmer can get
Money and Politics: Killing the U.S. Farmer and Killing Agriculture Globally
Cheap U.S. corn exports also drive farmers into crowded cities all over the world creating a worldwide dispossessed underclass. Our foreign aid carrot and hypocritical "free-market" rhetoric stick forces countries to accept the glut of "lost leader" cheap food which ruins local farm economies. It conveniently ignores the fact our cheap corn is highly subsidized and we place tariffs on imports. This is the nasty side of "globalism" and within this context of dumping the below cost output of our "green Revolution" on foreign countries we are destroying their agricultural infrastructure, just as we have done here. Out role as the bread basket of the world only perpetuates global poverty, overpopulation and hunger.
The death of the family farm has had two related results--good only from the point of view of corporate maximization of control over food economics and the politicians they "own" (by definition--fascism):
1) Massive amounts of corn which is a cheap biochemical building block for processed pseudo-foods (or anti-foods), like breakfast cereals.
2) The elimination of the intelligent feisty independent farmer class who were politically skeptical, sharp and questioning with populist leanings. These are not the qualities the politicians, running our so-called US democracy, want as they centralize control. (The embedded digital chip technology, soon to be required on all farm animals, requiring federal permission to take a horse, steer or goat off you property, would have hit the fan hard if this once powerful independent minded class of people were still a viable force.)
Pro-corporation government pseudo-food policies have not only created an unsustainable oil dependent economic sand-castle, they have created a global warming environmental nightmare. If there was any real justice.. well we can daydream.
The 1200 lb. meat cow, requires a barrel of oil to produce. Then transportation of any food, including beef, across the U.S. to distant destinations quadruples the energy cost. (This is the most important reason to try and buy locally when possible.) Another hidden cost of eating out at most restaurants or buying pseudo-food from the typical supermarket, is the cost of maintaining a large military in a single superpower era primarily dedicated to protecting "our" oil supply line. Our addictive dependence on oil has led to an an aggressive "empire-building" attitude that has been consistent historically through the last 11 presidencies. Each of these 11 presidents, both Republican and Democratic, was willing to undertake risky foreign adventures and covert "regime change", often in the Middle East, to protect "our" oil pipelines.
Notice the somehow, "their" foreign oil is in "Our" "National Interest". This would be like the Russians invading Idaho with the excuse that the Idaho potato is really their's. Why? Because they really want it, and because potato based vodka is in "Our" "National Interests".
There is a further final hidden cost of Industrial Food, in terms of limbs lost and lives lost, among serving soldiers and civilian victims of war. Our military and intelligence community has acted, or been directed to act, as proxy for corporate dictated foreign policy. This has meant support for cruel dictatorial regimes, if they support the military-industrial and larger corporate interests. Our military has fought with foreign armies and suffered from terrorism as direct result of our oil dependence and political control by these home-grown anti-democratic rich.
What's Your Beef?
We could look at virtually any aspect of agribusiness, including everything a vegetarian eats, and paint a dark picture. But let's ask where does the meat on your hamburger come from? Where did all the cattle go that used to be on family farms whose composted manure helped keep the vegetables and crops growing? Where did all the herds go that used to live out on western pastures for 5-6 years, until they reached normal biological maturity?
It turns out calves are still born on the grasslands, especially in the west on acreage poorly suited to plant agriculture. But grasslands are now only cattle nurseries. Calves destined for the typical Industrial food destination only spend about six months eating normal cow food, before they are weaned and forced to become, at least marginally, tolerant of corn. That is, unless you are buying truly grass-fed beef, hopefully slaughtered in independent USDA inspected facilities. If so, you will paying more per pound but saving more of your health and the environment with every meal.
Grass, not corn, is what cows are designed to eat. But the calves will soon be stuffed with corn, and a bit of soy and chicken feathers and poop, if they go to the typical destination for steers--the feedlot. This last five months of their lives will damage the health of the once strong grass-fed calves, it will damage the the biochemical composition of the beef, and it will damage your health and the environment.
Feedlots, to "corn-finish" steers, are sick places in many senses of the word. It is estimated 70% of the cattle would die in the 150 days needed to bring a steer up to full weight. This unnaturally rapid weight gain would not be possible if the cattle were not constantly pumped full of antibiotics and hormones. With constant antibiotics cattle are just barely able to live in these dismal unhygienic conditions. They will continue to survive at least as long as the antibiotics work for them. This overuse assures that the antibiotics' useful lifetime for them and us will be very short as we select for antibiotic resistant bacterial strains.
The cattle stand and lie in concrete pens on top of and breathing their own dusty feces. They rapidly get fat on an unnatural cow chow. They consume a gruel of corn and soy extracts (not natural foods for a cow), cow fat (cow's are not known to be naturally cannibalistic), chicken feces and feathers (for extra protein, and no, cows don't normally go in for a lot of feathered chicken poop) and synthetic vitamins hormones extracted from corn. At the end of their shortened lives, 30% of the cattle have liver abscesses, which are indicative of a highly toxic environment.
Most feedlot cattle have stomach inflammations or ulcers as the unnatural corn diet makes the normally neutral pH of the grass designed cow rumen hyperacidic. This ubiquitous cow heartburn has created a new environmental niche for an opportunistic pathogen. This is a lethal human kidney-killing e coli species that has made the worrisome evolutionary leap of being tolerant to highly acidic stomach juices. Thus, this feedlot created pathogen bypasses your most important bacterial defense. Just 10 bacterial cells can kill you.
Feedlot cattle are then transported to the slaughterhouse. One hundred years ago, in 1906 Upton Sinclair published "The Jungle". It was intended as an expose of the horrific working conditions in the meat packing industry. He hoped it would lead to labor reform. In the process he revealed the rat droppings, rat poison, moldy beef full of maggots, and other delectable's were routinely stuffed into sausage. Instead of being appalled at the plight of workers, the public became incensed about what they were being fed. Sinclair said "I aimed for the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach".
Theodore Roosevelt , despite political pressure, investigated, confirmed and strongly endorsed Sinclair's muckraking Food Industry allegations. This led to real reform in passage of the Food and Drug Act-- the passage of which had been previously blocked by the Food Industry and it's congressional allies. With this legislation, it became a federal crime to sell adulterated foods or drug. Food had to be labeled correctly. For a while things improved in the Food Industry's most basic toxicity and safety practices. But keep in mind, most Food Industry executives and Wall Street are only interested in the bottom line. Many resent spending any money unless it is for something the consumer will directly notice--like spots on the apples or on advertising. Most people are clueless about the life cycle of food, so why spend money on it?
Since the Reagan era the Teddy's important protections to avoid a recreation of the horrific conditions described a hundred years ago in "The Jungle" have been rolled back under the banner of "government deregulation" and privatization. Books like "The Death of Common Sense", a 1990 best-seller, have twisted the facts to portray laws that protect food safety are somehow an infringement on freedom.
Food safety in recent decades has been rolled back and compromised by these well-targeted pro-Food Industry, anti-consumer attacks, by their proxy politicians. Food labels don't clearly tell you that when you eat and drink processed food, you are just eating 30 different sub-fractions of corn. You are "corn walking".
Now, after years of "deregulation", we are creating a new different kind of Sinclair "jungle". Harmful bacteria are again rampant in meatpacking plants and in the fields. Feces is again contaminating food. Workers still get lousy working conditions. Farm workers are forced to go on strike to even get toilets in the fields where they work. Workers and the public are sprayed with toxic pesticides and herbicides and drink water and breath air laced with these poisons. Unions, the only ones acting to protect themselves, and by extension you, have been badly damaged in the new neo-conservative climate. Fewer food inspectors are on the payroll.
Most meat will be processed in just a few slaughterhouses, increasing the likelihood that an extremely virulent germ will be rapidly spread as a pandemic across the U.S., before it can be recalled. If you are expecting USDA inspectors to stop this from happening, don't hold your breath. Funding for inspectors continues to be cut as the Congress continues to do the bidding of the Food Industry.
Want lettuce on that burger? The number of reported incidents of produce contamination on Industrial sized produce such as almonds, lettuce and apples, has been on a sharp increase for 30 years, and most incidents go unreported. There have been 20 serious outbreaks in the last 10 years. Recently spinach contamination killed 3 and injured more than 200 in 26 states. Also, the Taco Bell poisonings in which dozens were infected have shown that our Industrial for-profit food system, without effective checks and balances, will too often look to save money and ignore worker, or your safety, if it improves the bottom line. Calls to irradiate the food to kill pathogens ignores the systemic reasons why the produce harbors the pathogens to begin with. It is a another Band-Aid fix which will further deteriorate the quality of our vegetables, fruits and seeds.
A much slower, but rampant, corn "killing field", is occurring in the increasing rates of U.S. heart disease. In the 19th century heart disease was so rare most physicians never saw a case. These heart disease free folks ate beef--healthy grass fed beef. Red meat is not the problem. Nowadays, we are dropping like flies. Young soldiers already have streaks of fatty deposits in their arteries showing the process of heart disease is already advanced. 30% of us are obese. 40% of women will die of heart disease, far more than will die of breast cancer. Even more men are dying of heart disease. It is men's #1 killer, (followed by "doctor caused" iatrogenic diseases, mainly related to adverse "side-effects" of prescribed drugs). The heart protective high omega 3 content of a healthy grass-fed cow, with levels similar to venison and salmon, is not found in corn intoxicated feedlot beef. Feedlot cattle are far too high in corn's omega 6 oils, saturated oils and transfats, making the feedlot animals, and their consumers, sick.
The altered ratios of omega 6's applies to other corn and wheat based products. This superabundance of omega 6's, not counterbalanced by omega 3's in the typical diet lead to a pro-inflammatory condition in the body. Worse, transfats and a superabundance of processed sugars create myriad diseases. The average American eats 150 lb of processed sugar, including subsidized high fructose corn syrup. A half pound of simple stripped sugar a day doesn't keep the doctor away. Altered oils and sugar ratios contribute to heart disease, obesity and diabetes. This surfeit of sugary anti-food is subsidized by your government and protected by legislation and lobbyists with more money than you. We can help teach you how to avoid these foods and eat better tasting and healthier foods--call 541-535-4325.
The good news is that the research showing meat is not healthy is based on feedlot meat and is unlikely to be applicable to natural and healthy animals. Real beef is healthy. It is raised freely on grasslands. Real beef may cost more to buy on the front-end, but it will be far less costly in the end. Fast-food and fast raised food has a big balloon payment, due later at the hospital, a balloon payment or balloon angioplasty, that you may not survive.
Feedlots are an obscenity that has a cold-blooded efficiency a Nazi concentration camp Kommandant could admire. Don't participate in the Food Industry economy. We can show you how to Live Longer and Liver Stronger without it. If this subject is of interest to you and you wish to learn more, please contact us by phone at 541-535-4325 or email us.
Back to the feed-lot. The cattle's manure, Instead of being a valuable resource on the farm, is now channeled into vast fecal lagoons of mountainous proportions at cattle feedlots and pork factory meat producing warehouses. The manure is laced with bioactive chemically, full of estrogens, carcinogens, antibiotics and heavy metals and nobody wants it anymore. Manure, once a valuable half of an important nutrient cycle on the family farm is now concentrated around the feedlot and has become chemically and biologically contaminated.
Nitrogen: From Ecological Farm Resource to a Feed-lot Pollutant
Nitrogen rich contaminated manure has become a toxic liability that flows downhill and pollutes our waterways and offends our air. In many streams 99% of the fish have become female. The estrogens that cause this are from many sources that include feedlot runoff and also women's flushed urine-- if they are using birth control or HRT. This human urine, like the feedlot cattle is high in estrogen, and other partially processed drugs. The fish in many streams also have pollution related diseases including cancers.
Many municipalities draw drinking water from these same streams. Treatment plants will not remove many of these contaminants, including the estrogens.
Eventually, as the rivers drain into the sea, the nitrogen rich effluent will cause algal blooms the size of states. This algal bloom deprives the water of most of it's oxygen and creates huge dead/kill zones. Thus Industrial Food practices degrade competitive commercial fishing, lobster and oyster harvests and put many out of work. Of course they can choose to work on corn-fed salmon farms. But, of course, salmon naturally eat corn and use antibiotics, so that should be OK. Right? If bad deja vu is getting you, you aren't alone.
Industrial food is built on a short-sighted economic logic that derives from the availability of cheap oil. The book Natural Capitalism debunks the necessity, wisdom, or even the sanity of such a foolish way to organize an economy. Oil makes the creation of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers possible. Corn requires nitrogen in huge quantities. Because Industrial food is completely dependent upon corn and oil, the food "commodities" we eat, are only possible by the inefficient use of fossil fuel to make enough fertilizer to cover every corn acre with 100-200 lb per year. Oil also runs huge combines and tractors on farms. As farmers attempt to stop the money hemorrhage by becoming as efficient as possible they replace farmhands with mechanical "oil" hands. They take out more loans to buy these expensive gas guzzlers.
Nitrogen fertilizer makes the incredible amount of corn that is now produced possible. But as vast as the amount of corn is, it still takes far more resources to produce it. Growing corn consumes 2-3 calories of fossil fuel for every 1 calorie of food that is produced. Corn is sold for far less than it costs to produce. MIllions of farmers have gone bankrupt and left farming while the middlemen, Cargill and ADM, who keep the price of corn too low, make millions. The populist independent farmer, once a political check on totalitarianism, is an endangered species, and no longer a political force.
How Women Unknowingly Gave Away the Keys to the Larder & Keys to Health
Food knowledge is still valued as sacred and is cherished in Asian cultures which have traditionally centered most important rituals, from celebration of a business success to marriage, around food. To make food sacred again, as well as pleasurable and healthy-- Please contact us by phone at 541-535-4325 or email us.
When I lived in China in the early 80's I never saw an obese person. This observation includes the financially much better off island of Taiwan. They were not thin because they were starving or dieting, they were thin because their cuisine matched their intuitive eating choices. If you look at old photos and read medical information from the US in the 1800's you will find obesity was very rare here and not so long ago. What happened?
The entire concept of "dieting" is a very recent phenomena. It harkens back to a propaganda campaign by the US government that began as food rationing was needed during the two world wars. Dainty eating and a rail thin look was promoted as a patriotic duty for women who were normal sized. It was considered a moral duty to eat like little delicate birds to save meat and calories for the fighting men. This was even as women, like Rosie the Riveter, shouldered many traditionally physically demanding male jobs.
Government and corporate meddling in women's self image and diet, unfortunately, had just begun.
A historical consequence of our industrialization was that women's path to equality, through the women's liberation movement in the US, was that women capitulated to the promise of Industrialized processed food technology that promised freedom from the drudgery of the kitchen chores. Many happily threw away their keys of the power of hearth, of the larder, of the centrality of food. They gladly turned over their traditional gender role to industrial food suppliers in a bid to win respect and equality in the corporate workplace that offered a white collar work option. This bid for an opportunity for self-determination beyond the role as wife and daughter, made sense. They experienced work in the modern isolated nuclear family kitchen, not as respected practitioners of a sacred trust in a female community of co-workers, but as chattel with many other doors of economic and creative possibility closed to them in urban settings. In previous generations as farm wives, women held a critical, complex and valued role with considerable self-autonomy.
In the 20th century, the traditional female work of nurturing and feeding families occurred to some ambitious women, who had been denied educational, work and creative possibilities, as the enemy to defeat. The locked in gender roles, including food growing and preparation, in the urban industrial landscape, occurred as a ball and chain. Now Industrial Food along with Industrial Medicine have monopoly control on the levers of our well being. Women are dying, unnecessarily, in droves, before their time, of a toxic food industry and nutrition based diseases.
Other women were less eager to give up their traditional gender roles. But did not see any choice but to capitualate to the easy cheap calories, packaged and advertised so well by the Food Industry. Especially as their kid's became hooked on the slick marketing and the Food Industry could pull off an "inside job", letting the kids campaign for spending money on their slick well-packaged empty calories.
Economic policies by decades of politicians have forced women into the workplace to make ends meet, even as these same politicians sing praises to the nuclear family and the stay-at-home-mom ideal. The conservative mom has been sold-out, in particular, by the conservative politician deregulating, downsizing and choking out the middle class. This forced abandonment of the role of nurturer, of the larder, of the kitchen, of the centrality of food, has created an intentional vacuum. It was engineered by corporate-government Food Industry interests. That "food as nurturing" vacuum is now filled by the happy minimum-wage faces working at the local Food Industry franchise near you. Those happy hamburger and pizza flippers, working where clowns and play structures attract kids and tired moms, will not see any way to reclaim control over their health and vitality. Any more than the legions of working women can see a way to prepare real slow-food in a fast food fast world life. We can help people find a new relationship to food that is viable even in these times- If this subject is of interest to you and you wish to learn more, please contact us by phone at 541-535-4325 or email us.
Our Food Dilemma: A Peak After Peek Oil
Modern economic systems, fueled by the spendthrift use of fossil fuels, think linearly, not in the ecological circles that all great previous civilizations did. We live in a capitalist (communist also made the same mistake) fantasy that it is sustainable to act as if we have unlimited resources transformed by unlimited fuel creating always growing amounts of product designed for obsolescence products to then create ever growing amounts of waste with no recycling and little efficiency designed into the system. The unsustainable toxic way we grow food is part and parcel of the way we are creating a toxic world on the threshold of global warming.
To our great discredit, the modern Industrial way of food production and preparation reveals an abysmal spiritual failure with horrendous costs to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual selves. Many books delve into these questions. We especially recommend Omnivore's Dilemma along with Nourishing Traditions.
As clients at Live Longer Live Stronger we teach you how you can eschew these wrongheaded, if seemingly convenient, choices of a morally bankrupt economic enterprise. We help you find your way back to the Tao of food, the Way of Food for Health and Pleasure. Call us at 541-535-4325 or email us.
The government's current policies, the one's they put serious money into, as opposed to mere window dressing programs, are more dangerous. Nowadays the US government's Department of Agriculture has politically protected pork-barrel policies that directly cause food addition and obesity in Americans at an unprecedented rate. The USDA is clearly at complete cross-purposes with agencies interested with human or environmental health. Rich lobbyist write most of our food subsidy legislation while they pay for our legislator' campaigns. Big Industry writes much of our "democratic" US governmental policies. These noxious policies support the spread of enumerable diseases from type II diabetes to heart disease.
In the last few decades we have seen how cigarette companies misused science to produce ever more addictive cigarettes that no serious person disputes tend to cause cancer in direct proportion to the amount one smokes.
What is not yet common knowledge is that the Food Industry plays the same role as Big Tobacco. The Food Industry's scientist's long ago found out that if they removed certain micro-nutrients, like chromium, from sugary processed foods, such as the breakfast cereal they market to our kids, kids would become addicted to them, and, in many cases, stay addicted for the rest of their lives. That is exactly what they put on the grocery shelves and on Saturday morning TV. When adults were given typical commercial baby food and monitored they had to stop the experiment after just weeks because of incidents of heart problems made it unethical to continue.
Our own government spends our public tax dollars to financially support huge corn growers and their invasive assault to put cheap high fructose corn syrup and genetically modified foods (GM) into every part of our over-processed food supply. Meanwhile our tax dollars do nothing to support organic farming and the growing fruits and vegetables.
Ironically, well-intentioned public health officials fight a losing battle to make our national food supply healthy. A case of the left hand not knowing, or not being able to change, what the right hand is doing. If we all ate their recommended levels of fruit and vegetables we would not be able to supply our population with this real and good food. We have less than half of the production capacity needed to feed real food to Americans. This is because, unlike soy and corn, it is not subsidized at all. Our taxes go to make more sugary processed food that is killing us--not to help encourage the eating and growing of vegetables and fruit.
But even in these well-intentioned agencies like the CDC or obscure branches of the NIH and FDA that are doing something useful, when it comes to big PR educational programs, like the "food pyramid", you can be sure big Food Industry lobbyist have already made sure any "food pyramid" that goes public will include their empty calories Food Industry products. Meanwhile, tiny kids are drowning in fraudulent and toxic TV advertising and sugary empty addictive foods.
Sacred Knowledge & the Sacred Hearth vs Modern Economic Forces
Sacred knowledge of the hearth, of food and nurturing, has been ignored, co-opted, stolen, given away, and lost by individuals by corporate design. They have sold us ubiquitous fast-food, bad-food, pesticide and fertilizer rich and nutrient depleted soil. And we bought it lock, stock and barrel. These anti-nourishment problems are part of the euphemistically named "green revolution" launched by the US Chemical Agribusiness Food Industry in the 1950's. In fairness, the Chemical Industry people who created the modern Food Industry really did believe we would have "better living through chemistry". And occasionally they were right. After all, some processing is useful--helping preserve food from spoilage and making food available out of season or after a poor harvest. But they didn't stop there.
Specifically, agribusiness's goal is to increase profits by making farming a mass production industry not subject to the vagaries of fluctuating materials prices. Mass marketers of food require extension of foodstuff shelf life. These goals are accomplished by petrochemical intensive agribusiness style production and military-industrial processing and packaging methods that first gave us such gastronomic delights as Spam and K-rations in WWII. This was OK for feeding troops in the field, but as a preferred cuisine? I don't think so...but obviously a lot of others DID think so!
Our fast-food mentality has, along with sub-standard food, given us an epidemic of many slow degenerative illnesses that compound with each successive generation. Compared to 'smart culinary cultures' American cuisine has a 'health IQ' of about 40.
Chaos: Small Changes Huge Consequences
Chaos theory clearly shows that even small changes in a complex system can lead to massive unforeseen consequences. In the Upside of Down, Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization, Thomas Homer-Dixon applies these concepts to the economic, political and social systems. The ironically named "Green Revolution" was not just a little single change, it has made changes that have rippled from ecology to society. It has resulted in many big changes that have created instabilities. And although the ramifications are unpredictable in specifics many of the changes are not going to be good. We can still alter this negative trajectory into a healthier one. If we act now-- in an intelligent and concerted way.
A single change can be bad enough. In Hawaii little noisy matchbook sized frogs called coquies that hitched their way on aircraft wheel wells from Puerto RIco are now creating a din of noise in the forest up to 90 decibels. This carnivorous frog's population has rocketed upwards. It eats anything it can get its mouth around on land or in the trees. It is driving other nighttime species to extinction. This will have many unknown ramifications as the biodiversity plummets. There are no local predators on Hawaii so no way for the environment to control the population, until everything to eat has been eaten and a Malthusian population crash occurs. Similarly, a single pair of escaped rabbits in Austria la has led an exponential rise in number and has costs billions of dollars and a lot of of human and animal misery, massive environmental damage and species extinction.
The green revolution has been a human, environmental, social experiment gone amuck. We will never know the full impact of this human evolutionary experiment. But be assured you are a guinea pig. On the other side, in the short run, which is the only run that matters in business, big profits have been taken.
May the Force Be With Women & the Sacred Again
Another way to consider the loss of nourishing sacred knowledge is as a major power shift: from individual, often female, and local community power and control over their own health and destiny to power being placed in the hands of the descendents of the patent drug makers. The patent drug manufacturers were the folks who knowingly helped addict a generation of Americans to cocaine and opium in the late 1800's and early 1900's*, who used that infusion of cash to became the multi-national Industrial Food and Pharmaceutical sectors in the 20th and 21st centuries.
[*Narcotic drug laws in the US were enacted after WWI when it was noticed that a high percentage of draftees were unfit for duty because they were addicted to the patent medicines that made them feel better as they worked 6 day 12+ hours/day jobs in the pre-union unregulated capitalist free-for-all.]
These corporate bad citizens have their own version of globalization. They spring from dubious beginnings in the past and hold an equally dubious vision of the future. The corporate globalism they espouse is trumpeted as a "good thing" by those who own, fund and influence the media. These corporations will ensure that their message gets across exclusively. These peoples bottom line concerns their own profits, which is OK unless it is at the expense of your health and harmony. Those that cross that line are not fit to hold the power of the nourishing sacred knowledge.
Most ironically, the shift of the power of nourishment was unintentionally abetted as a consequence of the drive for women's equal rights in Western societies in the 20th century. This dovetailed with the post WWII food industry looking for civilian sector markets for the mass produced successors of SPAM.
Perhaps some resistance of more "conservative" women's to being "liberated" was a gut understanding that the sacred hearth is important in many ways, including as a power center for themselves and their family. They may well have had legitimate worries beyond the concerns of what their unsympathetic parents, preachers, peers and husbands might think. They might have also worried that they could lose this societally sanctioned, if undervalued, power center the centered around food, if they pursued the unknown and uncertain options open to women at that time in the marketplace. Unfortunately, these real conservative concerns are not being voiced about the policy decisions that further harm the traditional role of women, perhaps because these same women who care about this sacred role also feel it is not their place to speak out publicly.
These traditionally women center activities, are sometimes called "shadow work" because they form an unpaid shadow economy that is under the GDP radar. Shadow work is not highly valued economically but it has become more culturally appreciated as a result both of the women's movement on the left AND the reaction to it on the right. But now even in conservative households most women need to work to make ends meet. Shadow work's worth has also become more valued as now both the husband and wife are in the workforce and without an extended family, the nuclear family must find a way to do all the shadow work. Most people can't afford to pay a nanny, and so look for rare good group childcare. Most people can't afford to pay a maid, a cook, an appointment secretary, chauffeur, etc. to replace the stay-at-home wife's "menial jobs". Together they add up to many part-time jobs.
If this subject is of interest to you and you wish to learn more, please contact us by phone at 541-535-4325 or email us.
Men Have Had Their Sacred Power Usurped Too
The economic step prior to the hegemony of Industrial Medicine and Industrial Food, intimately concerned men. It was also resisted, unsuccessfully, though the story is largely lost. It relates to a period in the late 1800's and early 1900's when large numbers of skilled highly paid craftsmen became obsolete as the assembly lines became the rage. The first model T Ford plant was a revolution of the last gasp of age of the individual craftsman and mechanic that actually built a product as opposed to servicing the machine that had replaced him. In this case the values and power of interesting and satisfying skilled complex work, creativity and fine individual workmanship were replaced overnight by the industrial value of exact uniformity in mass produced items. The bottom economic line was the mantra of efficiency: more could be produced with less cost. However, some costs can be counted, human and social costs are harder to estimate.
Just as the Sacred Knowledge of Nourishment was a power taken from women and absorbed into the mass produced big capital corporate vision, the Sacred Knowledge of Right-lively hood was a gender and life defining power taken from men in the early 20th century. The current "boys and their toys hobbies" allow for some of the skills to persist but in a corporately beneficial way.
The shadow economy (unpaid work) of home and community activities created what the cultural anthropologists call "social capital" that allowed the survival of the family after the small farmers came to the city and became dedicated factory laborers. In a last ironic twist of the monster that eats its own children, without this matrix (matrix=mother) of shadow work, the development of industrial society is doubtful. Without the largely dying machinist craft the assembly lines could not have long run in the beginning. Now both the "social capital" has been largely spent and the satisfaction of right livelihood has been largely lost.
The benefit was cheap mass-produced commodities.
The trade off for women interested In gaining access to jobs that paid well was that they would have to give away the "keys to the larder" to the emerging mass produced food industry. Many of these women felt constrained or even imprisoned by the personal price they paid for holding, or being forced to hold, the sacred, though culturally undervalued, trust while being simultaneously denied the opportunity to explore these male dominated career paths. They understandably denigrated the job they didn't want and were forced to take. By contrast some women had no interest in outside career paths and resisted the suffragette liberation movement and felt slighted by the disdain, or at least the media reported disdain whether it was true of not, of the home roles they embraced. These woman, looking at the bird they had and not the two possible birds in the bush, may have intuitively felt that they were about to lose an important powerful role. And they did.
From Sacred Knowledge of Nourishment to Empty Calories and Junk Food
With few exceptions when the Food Industry took on the traditional role of nourishing after WWII in the US they felt free to approach it purely as a business. They mechanized and chemical-ized in order to minimize costs and maximize profits.
As Jarad Diamond has shown in Collapse, historically when other cultures, such as the Maya, Easter Island, and Norse Greenland, allowed this kind of maximum extraction value system to determine food production practices, those civilizations eventually experienced a collapse of the ecology needed to support the intensive agricultural food mining. Although it cannot be reduced to a single factor, this kind of environmental stress, especially in fragile environments, led to a collapse of their civilizations, many or all of the people starved and died.
The modern Food Industry business-only values has devalued the role of the farmer and uses monopoly practices to artificially fix low prices a farmer can receive for their work. They use their monopolistic clout to fix prices and force farmers into questionable farming practices to survive the below costs prices they get for their products. American have been borrowing from farmers for a long time now. In case you haven't noticed, not many are left. These destructive practices are summarized as " chemically toxic monocrop strip mining of plants". The Food Industry has forsaken environmental concerns to maximize the quantity produced and has taken huge risks in releasing genetically modified cross-species genes and creating antibiotic resistant bacteria for the sake of a few percent animal growth rate increase. They create obsessive demand for sugary anti-nutrients through inappropriate targeted marketing to kids. They keep customers by using biochemistry to engineer fake marker chemical tastes for every major fast-food chain to fool the consumer's tongue into believing it is consuming real valuable nutrients.
The business-only values that de facto currently dominate the Food Industry values long shelf-life over a high quality and longevity of human life and a healthy environment.
Let me be clear, business values of efficiency and profit are fine, they can sometimes lead to innovation, but they represent just several values among many that an intelligent society must balance. Likewise, many corporations are doing good work in an ethical way. But the "ethical way" part is purely voluntary. Historically in extraction industries, mining, logging, oil, etc., we can see this non-business ethical concern is often jettisoned. Corporations only have a fiduciary responsibility to their stockholders, and increasingly to upper management. Profit is king. And as we know in chess, only the king really matters. Profits are, at least in a pre-Enron/World Comm accounting world, easier to keep score with. You can count profits easier than you can being a socially responsible neighbor or environmentally green.
An attempt to keep a real score card of the real cost accounting is being made by Theo Ferguson at Theo.Ferguson SustainableVentures.us.
Sustainable Ventures Call for Papers " Our Daily Bread : What Does It REALLY Cost?" Invitation for candidates to measure integrated social, environmental and financial performance. Deadlines vary Sustainable Ventures is offering a $10,000 prize plus benefits to individuals or teams of researchers for the study that measures the true costs of a loaf of bread. The winning study will provide an analytical framework that measures integrated social, environmental and financial performance so people can make more informed choices to protect and restore our world contact Theo Ferguson at this site: Sustainable Ventures.
But since we now give corporations more rights and protections than individuals, we let their money influence legislation, we see a revolving door hiring policy between the regulators and the regulated, we see how access to the powerful corrupts the democratic political process, and since we have no mandated competing values and incentives for those other important values we in effect say we don't care about them. Thus it is hardly surprising when we see rapacious behavior from too many corporations.
American Founding Fathers Saw the Handwriting, the Wall We Would Hit, & Gave Us the Legal Tools to Prevent Fascism
Note that the Founding Fathers knew well the corrupting influence of the East India Company and other British corporations firsthand and were very leery of corporations ability to concentrate power among the hands of a few. So they made sure every state constitution gives that State the RIght to require additional actions, beyond paying taxes, from corporations that do business within the state. Although this basic right has been hidden and buried by generations of corporate lawyers and apologists, we can still dust it off quickly to encourage better corporate and business behavior. Check out Jim Hightower's website www. jim hightower.com. I still am optimistic enough to believe that the overwhelming majority of individuals involved in business would welcome an opportunity to give back to the communities for the infrastructure in roads, utilities and educated workforce which are after all, publicly funded by public taxes.
If this good behavior, which we expect in our children and neighbors, was mandated for corporations and real incentives were given for socially constructive behavior along with penalties for the real decision makers for flaunting good behavior, then all corporations could operate on a level playing field and still make money. If we had a government of and for the people, those corporations, or subsidiaries, that don't want to pay a living wage and want to rape and pollute the environment would not be allowed to do any business in any of these United States or anywhere where we can apply pressure.
The quaint belief that the invisible hand of the market will produce a world that any sane person would ever want to live in is just so much knee-jerk economic dogmatism. It was the rationale that had the British government tie itself in ineffectual knots while the Irish died by the millions in the Great Hunger years in the 1830's. It ranks up there along with the dated and disproven idea that people make economic decisions based on rational self-interest. To balance values with foresight in a society where the only criterion is a better world is hard enough, but doable. When rich vested interest skew the calculation wildly toward their favorite values, those that keep them rich, then an intelligent calculation becomes politically impossible as long as Money Talks in such an amplified voice.
Agribusiness and Sacred Knowledge: a Summary
Mainstream American food habits have grown out of the needs of industry. Agribusiness values quantity of food produced over quality, profitability over nourishment. Agribusiness has chosen the short-term increase in crop yields gained by the use of toxic chemicals. This method soon creates a dependence on this petrochemical approach to produce at all. This is in contrast to farming methods that promote ecologically safe and sound stewardship of the land that will keep the land productive for millennia. We have the advantage of hindsight, but only if we look. We do know a lot about what has led to collapse of civilizations and what did not (see Jared Dimond's Collapse).
Another way of saying this is that when the "sacred knowledge" of what nourishes healthy kids, communities and healthy environments for the long haul, the longevity of the individual is enhanced as the "intelligence" of the civilization at large is enhanced. This is progress. As long as the sacred arena of food remains a profane product with little benefits for the farmer, massive adulteration of foods by food processors, the lack of sustainability and integrity in the once sacred area of food will harm us collectively and individually. If leave the Sacred Knowledge to these Industries our health and future is dimmer. It is time we all reclaimed the sacred in the "slow food movements", grass-fed beef, support of sheep and goat, avoiding the processed corn industrial foods. We are voting with our pocketbook and our message is being increasingly heard in corporate boardrooms. Buy organic and grass fed meats, use or start local CSA's and buyer's cooperatives. Nourish your future to help your kid's Live Longer and Live Stronger.
On an individual level we can "reboot" our personal Intuitive knowledge of what are the right foods and how much should we eat at each meal. Simply eating this kind of template has a salutary effect. By checking your Food Quantities at each meal we can give you the exact amounts to shoot for. You will learn a lot about foods that has become "lost" Sacred Knowledge: that is, knowledge you and your family can not live well without.
Call us to get started with Intuitive Eating and buck the super-size me MacDonalds nuttiness-- Call 541-535-4325 or email us today.