Politics and Food

Last night, Hugh Laurie said on the Stephen Colbert show that ISIS is not going to kill most Americans; diabetes is. He went on to say that if ISIS really wanted to kill us, they would be opening up a string of doughnut shops rather than plotting terrorism strikes against us.

This is actually a point that I've made before myself. Why do we worry so much about something like terrorism, which kills very few people (and I totally agree that one is too many people to be killed by terrorism) but then ignore, or more often than not take for granted, our number one and two killers, heart disease and cancer? And we do take it for granted. My neighbor's doctor told him that getting a heart stent was just a normal part of aging.

Well, it's not a normal part of aging. Nor is any kind of heart disease. Dr. Kim Williams, previous president of the American College of Cardiology, has said that heart disease need not exist. He has made it his mission to put cardiologists out of business. One of my favorite quotes by Dr. Williams is when he says there are two kinds of cardiologists, those who are vegan and those who haven't reviewed the data.

We know the answers to good health. They include eating a whole foods, plant-based diet consisting mostly if not entirely of fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains and nuts and seeds. That is eating plant-based foods as they occur in nature. And they don't occur in nature in the form of oils or processed foods. Whole foods don't come with nutrition labels. That's not to say that foods with nutrition labels are bad, but it is to say that the labels need to be read carefully. As Jeff Novick says, we should never believe what it says on the front of the box. Read the label.

Of course, exercise plays a significant role in our health as do activities like meditation, yoga and sleep. But it's of primary importance that we get our dietary patterns right. Lacking adequate whole, plant-based foods can ruin everything else.

So, if you're overly worried about terrorism, then besides playing into the terrorists' hands (because creating fear is how they win), then you should be even moreso concerned about nutrition and the foods we are eating. It's a fair question to ask during the political question. Where do the candidates stand on food? What will they do to provide healthy food options in our schools? What will they do to help teach our children and grandchildren about good nutrition? What will they do to get rid of the influence of the food industry in how our children eat? How will they remove the food industry from influencing the dietary guidelines? Where do the politicians stand on GMOs?

We heard none of those kind of questions in the debate last night. It's unfortunate because, in my opinion, that is what is really killing Americans prematurely. And that is, in my opinion, what contributes to making Americans sick, thus driving up our medical costs and through Medicare and Medicaid driving up our national debt.

If the candidates were serious, they would be talking about food. If we were serious as voters, we'd be asking about their policies toward food. And if ISIS were serious, as Hugh Laurie said, they'd be opening up doughnut shops across the land.