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Why Food Today is Different from 100 Years Ago

If only we were eating like our great grandparents ate, we’d all likely be healthier. That’s because our food today is almost unrecognizable in comparison to the food grown and consumed just a century ago.  

Despite mounds of nutritional research conducted in the last few decades, the world is sick, obese and tired. Strange, really, that ‘first world’ nations are so overweight and undernourished, especially when we consider how rare obesity, cancer, heart disease and diabetes were just a short time ago. Aside from the noted bias in scientific studies, which are largely funded by Big Ag and biotech corporations, along with the pharmaceutical industry, even nutritionists can’t seem to agree what we should be eating. The simple answer is REAL food—only it isn’t so easy to come by these days.

The reasons why food has changed so drastically are numerous, but it can all be traced back to the industrialization of farming and the corporatization of food consumption.

For example, a study recently published in the journal BMJ Open, led by Carlos Monteiro at University of Sao Paolo, found that nearly 60% of everything American’s eat is from ‘ultra-processed’ calories. Less than 1% of our calories come from vegetables.


Mono-cropping and Industrialization of the Food Supply

Monoculture is at the core of the industrialized food production model. This method of farming differs greatly from small family farms that used to produce a variety of crops, mostly without chemical fertilizers and biotech seed as potent and often carcinogenic herbicides, pesticides and fungicides.

As the name implies, monoculture means that a single crop is planted in the same place, year after year, depleting the soil of the very nutrients that plants thrive on, making them resistant to disease, pests, and even boosting their antioxidant and mineral content. These are important for the health of the plant, but also for the people and animals who consume them.

When industrialized food, or mono-cropping, was first suggested by agricultural experts just after WWII, it was heralded as a way to feed the growing number of inhabitants on the planet, but a host of scientific bodies have since questioned that model, noticing that the industry’s promises have gone largely unfulfilled.

What has come to light, is that instead of creating nutritious, environmentally friendly, sustainable food for the billions of people on this planet, this system encourages massive profits for a few corporations, while leaving many hungry and most malnourished.

Additionally, where small farms used to litter the landscape of America and other nations, with more than 50% of the population involved in some sort of farming work, a few multinational companies now own much of the farmland, contributing greatly to its demise.

A USDA Agricultural Census provides a wealth of information on the 2 million landowners who currently manage or rent out our country’s farmland:

  • 39 percent of all U.S. farmland is rented or leased
  • 80 percent of all rented farmland is owned by non-farming landlords
  • Rented farmland is valued at $1.1 trillion in total
  • 91.5 million acres of farmland (or about 10 percent) are slated for ownership transfer in the next 5 years
  • Only 21 million of these acres are expected to be sold to a non-relative


Food is No Longer Medicine

Aside from actual farmland changing hands from generations’ old farming families to behemoth corporations, we have also relegated our health to a corporate co-op between Big Agriculture and Big Pharma.

As the father of medicine, Hippocrates once stated, “Let food be your medicine.” Modern food production has veered quite far from this axiom. Nutritious food and herbal remedies once did a very good job at keeping disease at bay. It worked for thousands of years, in fact. Today, the nations which rely on industrialized farming practices suffer some of the greatest health care costs along with the poorest health.

Obesity and the diseases which ensue from this core problem is rampant. It seems odd that so many people could be suffering from malnutrition when their bellies are bulging over their pants, but we have created nations of fat people who are literally starving to death.

Mark Hyman, MD, at Hungry for Change details, “After review of the major nutritional research over the last 40 years and doing nutritional testing on over 10,000 patients, I can tell you that Americans are suffering from massive nutritional deficiencies. What I see in my office is reflected in the scientific literature. Upwards of 30 percent of American diets fall short of such common plant-derived nutrients as magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin A. More than 80 percent of Americans are running low on Vitamin D, and nine out of 10 people are deficient in omega-3 fats, which are critical for staving off inflammation and controlling blood sugar levels.”

The body will eat in an effort to get the nutrients it needs, even overeating in the process, while those who have sufficient nutrients in the form of unprocessed, organic fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, hardly ever overeat, and certainly have greatly reduced health issues from providing the body with the nutrients it needs to run a host of physiological functions.

Instead, we feed our bodies dead, nutrient-void food and then become sick. This is a logical series of events. Instead of noticing the insanity of this cycle, we don’t turn to our food sources and question them, but instead turn to the pharmaceutical industry, which eagerly awaits to ‘treat’ us with over-priced drugs that don’t cure any disease, but usually just mask the symptoms of that disease. Big Pharma has targeted supplements, knowing how important they are to our health, and Big Biotech targets our food by creating toxic, cancer-causing, patented crops that often bankrupt the farmers that grow them.


Eat Smart, Supplement Smarter

This is why changing our diets and supplementing intelligently has never been more important. We simply aren’t eating the same food that our grandparents and great grandparents had access to.

Some of the most prevalent diseases of our day, including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, almost every form of inflammation, depression and a host of other health conditions can be prevented or cured by a diet full of good nutrients.

Start by eating food that is organic and locally grown by farmers you can talk to face-to-face. Shop at farmer’s markets and only buy certified organic foods at your local store. If you’re really excited about revolutionizing your health, you can even start to grow your own food.

Supplement with potent herbs in the process, and you’ll start to regain the health our ancestors so enjoyed.