Why What You Eat Matters
We are disconnected from our food. It’s unfortunate because food and the food system are connected to everything—our health, the environment, politics, injustice, and much more.
My guest on this week’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy is here to discuss the importance of reconnecting to our food.
Pam Koch conducts research about the connections between a just, sustainable food system and healthy eating. She translates her research into curricula for schoolteachers and recommendations for policymakers. She speaks about nutrition education and sustainable food systems around the country and internationally. She is the author of many nutrition education curricula and has worked with and evaluated many school-based nutrition education programs that are creating school gardens, conducting cooking sessions, and working toward food justice. Her work contributes to increased access to nutritious, delicious and sustainable food for all. Pam also teaches two courses, Nutritional Ecology and Community Nutrition, to master and doctoral students.
In this week’s episode, Pam and I discuss nutritional ecology, which looks at each facet of the food chain and their effects on health, environment, economy, society, and policy. So often, people who are overweight or suffering from lifestyle diseases are told that it’s their fault they are sick and fat. Pam and I take a different standpoint—one that looks to the food system as a source of the chronic disease epidemic. You may or may not be surprised to learn that there is a link between obesity and food insecurity. Individuals who are food insecure can only afford cheap, packaged, and processed food which contributes to weight gain and illness. This unfortunate system targets minorities and impoverished people who have little to no access to healthy foods. This is a systemic, generational problem, and it will only change with our voices.
We also discuss farmers’ rights, and how we can support those who grow our food as well as school programs that encourage healthy habits, and finally, we talk about the Farm Bill. How can we move away from a system that offers a tremendous amount of money to support commodity crops such as corn, soy, and wheat, and move toward incentivizing the production and purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables? We discuss all of this and more in this fascinating conversation.
Hope you enjoy this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
PS – For more information about Plate of the Union (which Pam discusses in this episode), click here.