It's hard sometimes to talk about the importance of food in relation to things like school lunch programs, the environment, the drain on our federal budget or the medical care establishment without people getting defensive. And when people become defensive, the reaction becomes, "We don't want government telling us how to eat."
And I totally agree with that. Even as big a problem as I see our current standard American diet to be, the last thing I would want to see would be food police telling us what to eat.
That's because government seldom gets it right. The rules are made by politicians, and politicians react to moneyed interests. That's true whether they're Republican, Democratic or Independent. For a good understanding of how that happens, view the video from NutritionFacts.org that is titled The McGovern Report. What is described in that video is typical of how government laws and guidelines get made.
So, while a politician may have good intentions, by the time the various industries with interests in food laws get finished, the laws and guidelines tend to generally come out more in favor of the involved industries than they do in the citizen's interests. So, if we had food police, it's doubtful that we would have food police that stopped people from eating meat and dairy products. In fact, the opposite seems like it might be more true. We could end up with food police that make sure that we have a certain level of meat and dairy in our diets.
Part of the problem too is that politicians are just as confused as the rest of the public. They believe, like the rest of the country, that milk builds strong bones and that meat is necessary in order to get complete and adequate protein in your diet. Many politicians have probably done the low carb diets and the Paleo diet themselves as well. And that creates certain biases in the politician. And when special interests line up with the politician's personal biases, then it's hard to win against that.
And yet, many of us are concerned about what's going to happen if people continue to eat the standard American diet. We don't believe that doing so is sustainable. If government action isn't feasible, then what is?
And I believe the answer to that is education. Those of us who know the benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet need to be educating others. And I don't mean in an obnoxious or intrusive way. Proselytizing will only work against us. But we can talk about it when others ask us about it. We can make whole food, plant-based items and share them with others. We can ask for whole food, plant-based foods when we go out to eat. We can meet with local school officials and discuss ways to meet federal requirements and still provide whole food, plant-based meals to children. We can talk to teachers about teaching good eating habits in the classroom. We can write letters to the editor. We can talk about it in discussion groups when it's appropriate.
The ways of educating the public are endless. The ways of getting our point across are endless. But let's say "No" to any suggestion of a food police. For one thing, the food police could be more likely to be low carb and not whole food, plant-based at all. For example, there's more money in meat than there is in potatoes. And there's more politicians who represent the milk industries than there are who represent the radish industry.