How do we balance Yield, Profits and Health?

In economics there is the assumption that each entity is out for their own best interest, so how do we “create” some sort of Nash Equilibrium, popularized by Russell Crowe in the movie Beautiful Mind.  There needs to be some sort innate cooperation of all parties to pull this off.

In this time of fast/convenient food, it is difficult to imagine not eating breads, pastas, tortillas and cereals much of the time, but that is just what people did not that many years ago. With the rise of mega-agribusinesses such as Monsanto and Cargill, and the development of commercial farm across the country, we have begun consuming far too many grain-based products to the detriment of our health.  Whole-grain “cholesterol-lowering” oatmeal has replaced the old standard bacon and eggs.

Grains are the foundation of the Standard American Diet, yet wheat is not very healthy for us. On paper, whole wheat has a decent amount of fiber and a few essential nutrients, but most people consume too much, too frequently.   Wheat that has little to no nutritional value–and for many it is an anti-nutrient–(read damaging to our health).  Add to that fact that most of the wheat grown today has been genetically modify or raised on megafarms using toxic chemicals that ensure abundant harvests with fewer weeds and pests and we have a recipe for disaster. As these biotech advances produce enormous harvests, we have been encouraged to eat more and more wheat. This is filling the coffers of the agribusinesses and megafarmers alike, while providing a cheap food source for consumers. However, our health has suffered. Nearly one percent of Americans have celiac disease, which is intolerance to the gluten protein found in wheat. That is three million Americans, 97 percent of which are yet undiagnosed. The elevate rate of celiac disease is a result of this modern-bred wheat in the average American’s diet.  Not too mention as Dr Davis suggests in WheatBelly, the wheat we are eating is not your grandma’s wheat.  The genetic differences of new-wheat vs old-wheat is wreaking GI havoc on our health.

The other grain pushed by giant agribusinesses is corn. As I say if you want a fat cow, feed it corn.  (FYI–cows are meant to eat grass.)  That should Corn itself is may not necessarily be the problem–heck Native Americans ate it at the first Thanksgiving if my third-grade history is accurate, but the by-products of corn that are found in nearly every processed food and beverage on the market are. High fructose corn syrup is making America very sick. It is a staple in the processed food. High fructose corn syrup or HFCS is listed as an ingredient in not only sodas and sugary breakfast cereals but also in breads, soups and sauces. HFCS contributes greatly to the widespread obesity we see in America today. This high rate of obesity is causing Americans many more health issues. The rate of diagnosed cases of diseases such as diabetes, heart conditions, fatty liver disease, and many more is astounding. Limiting damaging food sources, such as those containing HFCS–implicated here, is the best way to reduce the risk developing these diseases.

Let’s not even mention soy at this point…

Reducing the consumption of grains should be a goal of a healthier lifestyle. Turning to a more paleo-diet of meat and veggies, free from grains, may be the best thing you can do. Yes, Monsanto and Cargill may potentially suffer if people not only understand the consequences of their food choices but do something about them–(probably not–people still smoke, right??) but hopefully fewer farms turn to them for biotech seeds, toxic chemicals, and huge harvest contracts.  Or more consumers continue the trend of local/co-op/farmer market shopping for their food.

Hopefully more small farmers will be able to increase their bottom line by increasing their offerings of nutritious, organic foods that are better for our health. As more and more farms change to natural foods, the price to consumers will gradually drop, allowing low-income earners to eat an affordable, healthy diet that is free of these more damaging grains.

More to come…lots to cover with these topics!

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