Father Andrew's Hot Body Gym

October 26, 2009

Health care reform v. agribusiness – a wee bit of politics for our blog

Filed under: real talk — Tags: , , , , , — frandrewrowell @ 4:31 pm

Have you all read this scary thing Michael Pollan recently wrote in the Times?

As folks have asked to join our gym and thereby enjoy some of the benefits of Crossfit that we are beginning to see in our own bodies, we’ve essentially required them to change their diets and take on some form of Paleo/Primal even as they learn, say, proper deadlift form.  Who knows – we might be able to promise some lowered health insurance premiums as a cost offset to their gym expenses!  Wouldn’t that make sense?  Or will the US continue to support a system that would rather encourage (perversely) both the medical industrial complex (which is happy to treat, for example, Type 2 diabetes) and ADM (which, among others, produces the junk food creating a nation of diabetics) at the same time?  What an amazing thing it would be if insurance reform led our culture to finally question whether it’s acceptable that 15% of our adolescents’ caloric intake comes from the corn syrup in sodas!

It’s well worth the read.  Have any of you read “In Defense of Food,” also by Pollan?


  1. Andrew,
    I read “In Defense of Food” by Pollan about six months ago. Incredible. If anyone wants to borrow it, don’t hesitate to let me know. He does a fantastic job of breaking down how our bodies work, and what we’re making them do instead because of our warped perception of “nutrition”. It’s a solid read, and it’s worth every penny.


    Comment by annamasi — October 26, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  2. There is a different elephant in the room that Pollan doesn’t mention. Crop subsidies, which are a major reason why bad food is cheap. It’s easy to consume cheap fast food, but without huge corn and wheat subsidies distorting costs, fast food wouldn’t be so cheap. I haven’t looked into the beef business, but another clear solution that could start us on the road to sane eating could be the removal of the subsidies that encourage farmers to produce excess amounts of food we really don’t need.

    Comment by joshuaeller — October 26, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

    • To some extent crop subsidies ensure our country’s economic stability in the world. For example, Argentina was poised to overwhelm the American agribusiness machine after WW2 and deals struck between our government and the newly desperate Europe protected the newly burgeoning agribusiness model, which guaranteed to a great extent the 50 years of explosive economic growth post WW2.
      Related to the original article, I am bothered by the need to demonize sugar, corn and the like. Admittedly, it should be a luxury and not a staple, however, this does not mean it should be completely run out of business or the people who consume it should be chastised for their choice.
      I also question our ability to cultivate enough food while still maintaining a liberal society without certain subsidies, especially corn subsidies. As much as we talk about grass-fed beef and so forth, the reality is, the overwhelming majority of beef and other food animals are fed with corn and the likelihood of America being able to feed itself, let alone make any money on the sizable market share the production of food would consume, is very small.
      Take for example fish, in most areas where popular wild fish(salmon leaps to mind), wild caught (and thus wild fed) salmon populations have been declining in the wake of overfishing, overfishing designed to feed a growing market of “natural” foodies. I guess all I’m saying is, in the process of demonizing certain admittedly “unhealthy” food items, we may in fact be damaging our ability to eat food at all.

      Comment by Graham — October 26, 2009 @ 9:21 pm

  3. Great post! I think the main issue is definately education and for that to happen the FDA has to be on board. I hear people saying what ‘healty’ items they had for dinner and I cringe because they don’t realize how unhealthy their food actually is. It’s sad.

    Comment by abbyleev — October 28, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

  4. Forget the FDA. It’s a government agency, and its interests will always be tied to the interest of the government, which is not always the same as the interests of the people. The FDA will never come out on a position that smacks big agribusiness in the face. They have very little incentive to do so and would face huge costs – political and otherwise. That’s not to say that it couldn’t happen. I’m just not waiting around for or counting on the FDA. We need to look to clear thinking, good writing, and solid personal results to start this change from the bottom up.

    Comment by joshuaeller — November 1, 2009 @ 12:46 pm

  5. I haven’t the time to enter into this awesome discussion, but I will just say this:

    For understanding the government’s role in our food system, read:
    _Food Politics_ by Marion Nestle–she is one of the scientists who was hired to help start the food pyramid.

    For more in-depth information on how “healthy” our food is as a result of monoagriculture and corn subsidies, watch:
    Documentary called “King Corn”
    and the Documentary called “Future of Food.” <–this last one, scared the junk our of me, knowing what the government is funding and why

    @Josh: for further investigations into the Beef industry read, "Power Steer" by Michael Pollan http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/31/magazine/power-steer.html

    @all, for information on the meat/fish industries in general, read _The Ethics of What We Eat and Why is Matters_ by Peter Singer and Jim Mason

    I have read/watched all of these, and they're all from within the last 5 years. They're all worth it to read/watch. It's truly educational.

    Comment by annamasi — November 3, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

  6. Correction, the article “Power Steer” wasn’t written within the last five years, it was 7 years ago. Regardless, it’s educational.

    Comment by annamasi — November 3, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  7. If you’re curious to know what kind of healthy foods that are not boring, mild example would be a very low fat brownie. Yes, you can eat candy, as long as health and prepared with less sugar and fat. If you’ve heard of quinoa, the super grain of the Incas took their health can also be cooked and an excellent supplement to your diet!

    Comment by chinkyoung.com — April 5, 2010 @ 10:43 am

  8. Thanks for the comment chinkyoung.com, glad you stopped by our site! We here at FAHBG stick with the Paleo/Primal way of eating which rules out all sugars, grains, amoung other things. Most of our friends think we’re crazy but we’ve all seen and felt 100% better since we’ve started this way of eating. If you’re interested in the crazy way we eat check out marksdailyapple.com and thepaleodiet.com.

    Comment by Abby Vandegrift — April 7, 2010 @ 11:20 am

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