Column #166

It’s election time again and in less than two weeks the political ads will stop running. Based on that alone we have a lot to be thankful for this coming Thanksgiving. Some peace maybe.

In the meantime Linda and I are studying our voting options which vary for everyone depending on which state they live in. But there is one universal option I want to address. It involves the preservation of our food supply. A year ago Amanda Radke wrote a column in Beef Magazine that touched on that issue and, undoubtedly, it will surface again.

Amanda expressed concern over the divisiveness caused by everyone seemingly thinking in black and white while ignoring the subtleties of gray. She was worried because only about 2% of the people in this nation actually farm the land and tend the livestock which becomes everyone’s food. The other 98% perform other tasks. This population imbalance in our democracy scares her.

The burr that really got under Amanda’s saddle was a tweet by MSNBC producer Kyle Griffin where he lamented that “By 2040, about 70% of Americans are expected to live in the 15 largest states. They will have only 30 senators representing them, while the remaining 30% of Americans will have 70 senators representing them.”

I guess Klye thought that was a bad thing. Is it?

No, it’s a necessary thing. That’s because Congressmen represent populations and Senators represent regions. The Founding Fathers deliberately designed checks and balances in our government to guarantee the rights of minorities. Farmers and ranchers are one of the smallest minorities in our country yet they own most of the privately held land. That’s why on average each American farm is capable of feeding 165 people annually.

Ranches and farms are mostly located “in the sticks” which is usually a good distance from even very small towns. That’s why most people view America’s farms and ranches from 35,000 feet in an airplane and only see them as irrigation circles. In most cases, where livestock roam and many crops are farmed, they see nothing.

Because of this disconnect with their food production, most Americans have no idea what’s happening on the farm. Consequently many Americans have been led to believe the following myths:
●    Ranchers abuse their livestock and their livestock are destroying the rangelands.
●    Farmers are poisoning the environment and destroying their own farmland.
●    The farm insurance program is a subsidy program guaranteeing farmers and ranchers a healthy profit.
●    Most farms are owned by large corporations that exploit the public.
●    The best food is grown locally.
●    Farmers are mostly ignorant and technically challenged.

That’s only a few of the many hundreds of myths Americans believe in that involve food production, food processing, and food itself. So this sets a dangerous precedence. That’s because if the majority starts passing laws based on myths that will negatively impact farmers and ranchers (the minority), something will have to give. If it’s food production that won’t be good.

There’s another aspect we need to consider that impacts everyone who eats the healthiest foods based on nutritional research and those of us who supply it. Our country is in a pickle. We have a healthcare crisis that struggles with unsustainable costs for treating chronic diseases that are mostly caused by diet. The government doesn’t pay for the healthcare; citizens do. Everyone (including us health nuts) pays for medicaid and medicare through taxes even though in many cases the taxes are paid indirectly. Everyone also pays for health insurance (directly or from taxes) and the insurance rates are based on what hospitals charge which includes the “emergency” services they provide for “free.”

Unfortunately even those of us who exercise self control by only eating foods that reduce inflammation, defend against dementia, protect their mitochondria, decrease mycotoxin exposure, and strengthen their immune systems do not receive any credit for being below average burdens on the healthcare system. Plus our food is more expensive because it’s not mass produced. The people who ignore the science and eat high glycemic, nutritionally deficient foods that are loaded with Omega-6 fatty acids are constantly running to the doctors. Yet they do not pay more for healthcare because, as a majority, they want their cake and eat it too.

This needs to stop. But it won’t stop unless those of us in the minuscule minority become more proactive in spreading the word about, shall we say, “The Real Diet of Man.” Political leaders are masters of the art of jumping out in front of the parade to pretend they are leading the parade. So we must start our own parade. We must do a better job of spreading the word about why grass-fed meats, Omega-3 meats, wild-caught seafood, green leafy vegetables, other selected vegetables, and some fruit are the best foods to eat.

Unless we can start a real science-based parade we will continue to be caught in a pincer movement of ever increasing healthcare costs and higher costs for healthier food. The American rancher and farmer can mass produce any food demanded by the majority. But unless the public votes with their dollars for healthier food, farmers and ranchers will not respond. If the public does change even a little, that would be a double win. Already healthy food is way cheaper than healthcare and both could be less expensive when Omega-3 foods are mass produced by America’s ranching and farming industry.

Changing our food culture will not be easy because so many potential converts think they already are eating healthy foods. Unfortunately they’ve been overly influenced by the many myths. That’s why we must showcase the scientists who, for decades, have been proving the relationship between the chemistry of food and chronic disease.

Obviously we can’t wait for the U.S. government to cure this problem. It’s up to US.

To your health.

Ted Slanker

Ted Slanker has been reporting on the fundamentals of nutritional research in publications, television and radio appearances, and at conferences since 1999. He condenses complex studies into the basics required for health and well-being. His eBook, The Real Diet of Man, is available online.

Don't miss these links for additional reading:

From Homicide to Happiness – a Commentary on Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Human Society by Joseph R. Hibbeln, M.D.

Modern Fats and the Modern Mind a video by Capt. Joseph Hibbeln, M.D.

Nutritional Armor -- Brain and Behavior a video by Capt. Joseph Hibbeln, M.D.

Reversal of Cognitive Decline: A Novel Therapeutic Program by Dale E. Bredesen

Blood Fatty Acid Changes in Healthy Young Americans in Response to a 10-Week Diet by Andrew J. Young et al.

The Importance of the Ratio of Omega 6 Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids by Artemis Simopoulos M.D.

Bill Land’s Website

The Cardiometabolic Consequences of Replacing Saturated Fats with Carbohydrates or Ω-6 Polyunsaturated Fats: Do the Dietary Guidelines Have it Wrong? By Dr. James J DiNicolantonio

Cancer: A Metabolic Disease With Metabolic Solutions A Thomas Seyfried Video

National News Reporter Calls Rural America “Core Threat” to Nation by Amanda Radke

Fast Facts About Agriculture from American Farm Bureau Federation