In the late 1990s, my husband, my self and my in-laws attended one of our monthly Historical Madison County Society meetings, during which we were given a viewing of an old film shot around the county courthouse in the 1930s.  What has remained stuck in my memory was this astonishing fact - there were nothing but lean and thin people present.  Of course, there have been throughout history, some people who were "gravitationally challenged" - King Henry the VIII or "Chubby" of the Little Rascals.

However, something happened after the 1930s; that was already becoming clearly evident, in the 1990s.  I think I have found at least a couple of the "major" suspects - High Fructose Corn Syrup; and the trade group "Center for Consumer Freedom".  High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) was not introduced into the American food supply until the 1970s.  Coincidentally, about the same time that partially hydrogenated oils were also "added".  These rapid changes to the overall content of processed foods have led to the epidemic levels of obesity, and the highest rates of disease along with the lowest life expectancy of any industrialized nation.  This is NOT a coincidence.

Becoming a well-informed consumer is certainly the "first step" in personal responsibility, as publicly promoted by the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), founded in 1996 - those "friends" of every disease vulnerable American consumer (Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Kellogg and Kraft are some of the known entities)  Their website says many of the companies - food companies and restaurant chains - supporting the lobbying and media campaigns of the CCF prefer to maintain their anonymity - Why ? - their website states that they are apprehensive that vegetarians and health activists might threaten their privacy and safety.  I would suspect that they are MORE apprehensive that their profits might be at stake.

Sadly, the Center for Consumer Freedom isn't even able to see the irony in their own hype.

I have inherited genes that are particularly vulnerable to excess sugar in my blood stream.  So, although I've had an interest in nutrition since the 1970s, I am in a "getting serious" mode now, thanks to threats of pharmaceutical interventions for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  What I see with my own eyes, so many overweight people out there, is both scary and sad.  Last fall, my activist heart (born in the late 1960s but dormant for many years since) was re-awakened by the Occupy Movement.  Thanks to Occupy, and other collective efforts to educate the populace - I have now learned, and I can't go back to not knowing.  What has been happening, while we, the people, gave the elected government politicians a free reign, is not pretty.  Large multi-national corporations are in control, not only of the law itself and the economy overall; but even in such places as the Dept of Agriculture and their funding resources, as well as both national and state food policies.

"YES, WE CAN DO IT" -  we can change the nature of the human diet to be nutritious and wholesome again; and this is something that every man, woman and child can easily and inexpensively chose to make contributions toward and participate in.

There is HOPE.  We, the people, are collectively sharing information, through more "alternative" channels than ever before and over which, we have individual discernment.  We are "finding" one another - our real friends who care about our genuine quality of Life - and we are supporting and encouraging one another to just say "No !", to some of the most biologically addictive substances yet devised, which coincidentally ? boost the profit margins simultaneously for Big Agriculture, Big Food and Big Pharma.  Now, I'm not trying to suggest that there is an intentional conspiracy among these 3 globally-influential entities; but the actions of each of these are supporting the revenues of the others.

Not only is there a growing and impregnable collective, of nutritionally-conscious individuals that can't be infiltrated by any external entity; but we have "heroes & heroines" willing to put themselves "out there" on the front lines; and they are not going to be silenced, until we succeed in taking back the health of the people of this country, and encourage similar activities in all other countries that have been similarly damaged by a profit-driven, market oriented approach by multi-national corporations, to the global food supply.  We, the people of the planet, will not fail; because our very lives, and even more especially a "good quality" of Life, utterly depends upon our success.  One who is sick cannot enjoy living, in the fullest sense of that concept; and is unable to contribute fully, to the evolving  of a "next - better" human society - for disease captures fully the human attention; and does not let us go, until we die.

Here are a few names and links, just some of my own personal "heroes & heroines" -

Dr Mark Hyman - pioneering nutritional approaches to wellness and spearheading a "Take Back Our Health" movement - in our schools, for our communities, in our workplaces and our places of worship, for our democracy, through our media and from a "sickness-oriented" medical perspective.

Michael F Jacobson, PhD of the Center for Science in the Public Interest and sponsors of "Eat Real, America !" on Food Day, this 2012 year on Oct 24th; as well as the long-time editor of Nutrition Action Healthletter and a dedicated activist, at the political level.

Whole Living Magazine for encouraging healthier lifestyles and for their yearly Action Plan.

Marianne Williamson for her perspectives in A Course in Weight Loss.

Geneen Roth for her retreats and workshops to heal eating disorders; and her books- including "Women Food and God" and "When Food Is Love".

John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America, and Ocean Robbins, founder of YES (Youth for Environmental Sanity) and author of Choices for Our Future - and their co-founded organization - The Food Revolution Network.

May WE all be well,

May WE all be happy,

May WE all be free of suffering,

May WE all be at peace.


Yes, WE can do it !!

Views: 388

Comment by Deborah Hart Yemm on October 19, 2012 at 10:11am

The other day, while waiting at Whole Foods Market in St Louis for my ride to come and pick me up, I was drinking a novel beverage that was a mix of organic Chia Seeds, Pomegranate and Lime juice.  On the bottle it mentioned "founding member Slow Money".  Intrigued, I googled the words and found their website -

Here are the Slow Money Principles -

 In order to enhance food security, food safety and food access; improve nutrition and health; promote cultural, ecological and economic diversity; and accelerate the transition from an economy based on extraction and consumption to an economy based on preservation and restoration, we do hereby affirm the following Slow Money Principles:

I. We must bring money back down to earth.

II. There is such a thing as money that is too fast, companies that are too big, finance that is too complex. Therefore, we must slow our money down -- not all of it, of course, but enough to matter.

III. The 20th Century was the era of Buy Low/Sell High and Wealth Now/Philanthropy Later—what one venture capitalist called “the largest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” The 21st Century will be the era of nurture capital, built around principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place and non-violence.

IV. We must learn to invest as if food, farms and fertility mattered. We must connect investors to the places where they live, creating vital relationships and new sources of capital for small food enterprises.

V. Let us celebrate the new generation of entrepreneurs, consumers and investors who are showing the way from Making A Killing to Making a Living.

VI. Paul Newman said, "I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what he takes out." Recognizing the wisdom of these words, let us begin rebuilding our economy from the ground up, asking:

* What would the world be like if we invested 50% of our assets within 50 miles of where we live?
* What if there were a new generation of companies that gave away 50% of their profits?
* What if there were 50% more organic matter in our soil 50 years from now?

The website notes that it was inspired by the vision of "Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing As If Food, Farms and Fertility Mattered", published in 2009, the Slow Money Alliance is bringing people together around a new conversation about money that is too fast, about finance that is disconnected from people and place, about how we can begin fixing our economy from the ground up... starting with food.

Comment by Deborah Hart Yemm on October 20, 2012 at 6:17pm

Thanks for reading and commenting, CA. I'm not consistently involved here at the Cafe enough, to know to what you are referring. I understand "real economics" pretty well. I have to keep a business viable; and the last several years, it has been challenging but our business is still "in business".

Comment by Mushin on October 20, 2012 at 9:31pm

I love you! 

Comment by Deborah Hart Yemm on October 21, 2012 at 12:21am

Awwww, shucks, Mushin . . . . understood, I believe.

Comment by Mark E. Smith on October 27, 2012 at 4:05am

Right now there's an initiative on the ballot in California to get GMO labeling. I don't vote and I don't trust labeling.

When I buy produce at my local organic cooperative, it has a tag on the produce bin that states the name of the farm where the produce was grown and how many miles from us it is. I trust that. I know the names of several local organic farms and I've met some of the farmers.

But when I see processed foods in their grocery section that say USDA Organic or even 100% USDA Organic, I don't trust it. Recently there was a recall of many organic products that contained peanuts or peanut butter because a lot of organic food companies had all been getting their peanuts from one big supplier that had a Salmonella outbreak.

I don't want an official label. I want to know the farmer or at least know that the farm is close enough for me to visit. Labels won't protect me, but dealing only with local ethical people could.

Comment by Deborah Hart Yemm on October 27, 2012 at 9:17am

Hi Mark,

Nice to see you pop in here.  I am aware of the GMO prop on the CA ballot.  I live in Missouri, so it's not here that is being considered.  I do know it is a highly charged, politicized issue.  Whenever the big corporations feel their profit margins are at stake the big bucks come out in opposition.  In Missouri, it is a bigger tobacco tax that is receiving such treatment.

You are correct the even with requirements to label, loopholes will be found.  I am depending primarily on being very "basic" in my own food selections.  I avoid "processed" as much as possible and try to stick with brands that are reputable, when I can.  Try to buy the most natural, with as few added ingredients as possible, when I do buy something "processed".

What you are doing buying "local" is the best and encouraging local food production brings the most food security long-term.  The cascading food contamination recalls is quite troubling and especially so, when as you point out, the source turns out to be a mega farm selling to everyone else.

You place your own trust wisely.



Comment by Deborah Hart Yemm on November 3, 2012 at 1:31pm

In the current, Nov 5, 2012 issue of Newsweek, comes the controversy and research about food addictions - "The Snack Food Trap".  It is easy to see the evolutionary reasons why obesity is becoming rampant.  Our brains have programming to encourage us to load up on sweet and fatty foods as a survival mechanism.  And personally, when the weather begins to go colder with the change into Autumn, I begin to want to store up nutrients for the long winter hibernation and the likely fasting of Spring until new food begins to grow - but NOT now, not in our modern life of an abundance of food everywhere we look and eating round the clock.

In fact, research into drug addiction is revealing similar mechanisms regarding the food we eat.  Researchers noticed that addiction recovery commonly led to hunger and weight gain (yes, quitting cigarettes can make you gain weight, it isn't all in your mind or actually, it is).  So, now it is believed that eating satisfies the same BRAIN cravings that substances like tobacco, alcohol and addictive drugs do.  In fact, it has been discovered that alcohol-use disorders increase significantly after gastric bypass surgery.

So, while the evolutionary programming was there to make sure our ancestors took advantage of times when they could load up on calories, what has significantly changed is the availability of hyper-refined substances like cocaine and alcohol and high-fuctose corn syrup and 1,000 calorie cheeseburgers.  These have hijacked the biological system taking it to a whole new intensity.  It is believed that just the sight of certain foods (on the shelf at your nearby quick shop) can trigger a sudden need, a desire to consume them ("cue-induced wanting").


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