Modern agriculture has a similar “attack and conquer” approach as modern medicine does when it comes to protecting growing foods from pests and weeds. Strong chemicals are used and they may do the job, at least in the short term, but they often negatively impact the plants, our Earth and the soil and waters, and ultimately animals and humans as well. Organic practices are now shown to work sufficiently well to produce better quality and healthier foods with the added benefit of a healthier Earth.
Big business and multinational corporations have had huge success with “modern” foods, and this refers to processed and packaged foods and includes companies that make candies, cereals, baked goods, and much more that I call “treat foods,” which are often high in sugars and fats and low in nutrition. This quick, cheap food has led to the successful fast-food industry and has spawned annual worldwide sales in the trillions of dollars. This approach to food, and I question the idea that it is any kind of “advance,” has undermined the health of millions of people and especially children.
The whole idea for the four basic food groups came out of “special interest” groups like the dairy and meat industries that proposed and taught the overconsumption of these foods in the American diet. Luckily, our knowledge has advanced and many have shifted their attention to new food pyramids and the awareness that fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and other non-meats should be the largest part of our daily diet.
Many believe that there is continued corruption in having special interest groups imposing their will on government and industry relating to both agricultural practices and food production, labeling, GMOs, etc. For example, it has recently come to light that 50 years ago the sugar industry quietly paid scientists to point the blame at fats as the culprit in causing heart and other diseases. (NPR 9/13/2016)
For a more in-depth look at agricultural and food production issues, check out this recent article by well-known food activist and author, Michael Pollan. New York Times Magazine 10/5/2016
Future blog posts will provide some ideas and practices for bringing peace into important areas of our lives as we approach our health, nutrition, political agendas, and personal relationships.
Stay Healthy, Dr. Elson