In the 1960s something happened that changed the human race forever. It is credited with saving over 1 BILLION humans on the planet. Additionally, it’s the reason why, in 2019, more humans die from conditions related to eating too much food instead of starvation.
This cosmic shift in our species food sources is known as the Modern Agricultural Revolution. It was the first time modern science was ever used to influence what we ate. For the first time ever we saw large supermarkets. These super food stores saw the death of local produce markets. This caused a shift in farmers creating produce fit for these super stores. Food that was quick to create, filled shelves, lasted long, & reduced spoil was a dream come true to business owners. And for the first time ever, science had caught up to be able to create foods to meet those demands.
The Modern Agricultural Revolution saw;
Highly processed to have a longer shelf life & attract larger food stores.
They were made from high yielding varieties of corn, wheat, & rice which all have a longer shelf life than green leafy vegetables.
Crops were irrigated with artificial & controlled water supplies.
Fed synthetic & chemical fertilizers to increase yield rate.
Protected with pesticides to reduce loss.
Grew from genetically modified seeds to strengthen ideal production.
There is no denying that these choices were made with good intentions of feeding the starving. Although, these good intentions have set up a generation for disease and ill-health.
As Charles C. Mann said at a 2018 TEDTalk;
“If you believe that hyper productive, genetically engineered crops are the key to feeding everyone in tomorrows world, you have to worry that 20 years of scientists demonstrating that they are safe to consume has failed to convince the public to embrace this technology.”
What I tell my patients is that there is no perfect way to eat and no perfect diet. Each of our relationship with food is different and food has a much stronger psychological relationship than most would think. Always start by evaluating your mental relationship with food. The when, why, and what you are eating. After that check out all the communities that have arisen over the last 20 years.
The Whole 30
Plant Paradox Program
All of the above are still running strong these days, but most people (myself included) notice a “start & stop” or an “on or off the wagon” relationship with them.
My favorite food advice I live by & recommend to my patients comes from a conglomeration of all the popular food trends over the years, mixed with human biology & evolution, sprinkled with habits of people living in the Blue Zones (5 areas around the world with the highest rate of healthy/happy 100+ year olds).
None have a processed food culture. By and large, they eat fresh, unprocessed, and local produce.
They sit down and eat meals together.
They eat what is in season.
They have treats, but only at very special festive times such as Christmas and Easter, not every day after school, or every Friday and Saturday.