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Episode 187
The Doctor's Farmacy

Food Justice: Why Our Bodies And Our Society Are Inflamed

Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

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A large part of my work in Functional Medicine is addressing inflammation. I talk a lot about how the food we eat, and our current food system as a whole, promotes inflammation and leads to chronic disease.

But it’s not just our bodies that are inflamed, it’s also our societies and our planet. Covid has only made racial disparities even more apparent, while the disasters that result from climate change continue to climb in frequency and severity as well. It’s all connected.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to host Dr. Rupa Marya and Raj Patel on this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, to dig into decolonizing the food system to address the inflammatory state of our world and our bodies.

From preserving Traditional Ecological Knowledge to promoting food sovereignty and fighting social injustice, this conversation spans a broad range of topics that you might not have realized are deeply connected. Our current food system is rooted in an archaic model. Dr. Marya and Raj explain what the colonization of our food system means and the true cost we end up paying socially, ecologically, economically, psychologically, and physically.

Whether it is glyphosate, payday loans, the historical trauma of having your land stolen, or a slew of other offenders, these toxicities provoke inflammatory responses that are being passed through generations, especially in marginalized communities. We talk about addressing structural violence and using the concept of Deep Medicine to elicit healing throughout the entire web of life.

To decolonize is to reconnect—to not care “about” but to care “with.” I hope you’ll tune in to learn more.

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I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

Here are more of the details from our interview (audio):

  1. The root causes of the rise of inflammatory disease around the world
    (12:21)
  2. How external stress creates disease and illness within our body
    (20:10)
  3. Monopolies and corporate dominance in the food industry
    (27:17)
  4. The anatomy of injustice
    (39:15)
  5. How has our food system been colonized, and what does a colonized food system look like?
    (42:38)
  6. Why singing is medicine
    (45:36)
  7. The populations with the most biodiverse gut microbiomes
    (48:05)
  8. The link between chronic disease and our political and economic structures
    (54:51)
  9. Going beyond food security to food sovereignty and nutritional security
    (1:06:42)
  10. Our food system and climate change
    (1:20:25)

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
Dr. Rupa Marya

Dr. Rupa Marya is a physician, activist, mother, and composer. She is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco where she practices and teaches Internal Medicine. Her research examines the health impacts of social systems, from agriculture to policing. She is a co-founder of the Do No Harm Coalition, a collective of health workers committed to addressing disease through structural change. At the invitation of Lakota health leaders, she is currently helping to set up the Mni Wiconi Health Clinic and Farm at Standing Rock in order to decolonize medicine and food. She has toured 29 countries with her band Rupa and the April Fishes, whose music was described by legend Gil Scott Heron as “Liberation Music.”

 
Raj Patel

Raj Patel is a Research Professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs, a professor in the University’s department of nutrition, and a Research Associate at Rhodes University, South Africa. He is the author of Stuffed and Starved, the New York Times bestselling The Value of Nothing, and co-author of A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things. A James Beard Leadership Award winner, he is the co-director of the award-winning documentary about climate change and the food system, The Ants & The Grasshopper. He serves on the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems, and has advised governments on causes and solutions to crises of sustainability worldwide.

Transcript

Speaker 1:
Coming up on this episode of the Doctor’s Farmacy.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Truly what we need to do is reimagine every way in which we relate to each other in the web of life, because the ones that we’ve inherited, the ones that we have been handed to us through a colonial capitalist cosmology are making us sick and making the planet uninhabitable for human life.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Welcome to Doctor’s Farmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman, that’s Farmacy with an F a place for conversations that matter. If you care about the state of our food system. If you’ve been hearing about the ways in which food injustice affects so many poor and indigenous and African-American Hispanic people in our country, you should listen to this podcast because you’re going to learn a lot about the origins of our sick nation and the structural problems with our society that drive disease. And maybe just maybe challenge the idea that you can get well by going to your doctor’s office, that maybe wellness and health don’t really happen in the doctor’s office or the hospital. It happens in the communities where we live and the environments that we grow up in. And I’m delighted to have two guests today. Actually I have two guests, but our guests today are both extraordinarily esteemed folks who have inspired me and are doing extraordinary work in the world of food and food justice.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
First is Dr. Rupa Marya. She’s a physician, an activist, a mother, a composer. She’s a rock star, I guess. That’s most impressive to me. She’s been in 29 countries playing music for thousands and thousands people, including the themes of social justice and many other things. So she’s also a doctor and associate professor of medicine at the University of California, and she practices and teaches internal medicine. She looks at the impact of our social systems from agriculture to policy, to policing and how all those things affect us in our health. She’s a co-founder of the Do No Harm Coalition, which is a collective of healthcare workers committed to addressing disease through structural change. And we’re going to talk a lot about what structural change means because I think it’s an important concept that’s absent from medicine for the most part. And she’s also at the invitation of Lakota health leaders committed to setting up the Mni Wiconi Health Clinic and Farm at Standing Rock in order to change medicine and food for those cultures that have been so oppressed for so many years.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Dr. Raj Patel also, his work has been a huge inspiration for me. He’s a research professor at the University of Texas in Austin, Lyndon B Johnson, School of Public Affairs. He’s a professor at the University Department Nutrition and a research associate at Rhodes University, South Africa. He wrote a book called Stuffed and Starved, which was a big inspiration to me as I wrote my book Food Fix. And he’s the New York Times best selling author of The Value of Nothing which I want to read. It sounds good. And a coauthor of A History of the World in seven cheap things. He’s done so many wonderful things, including making films. He’s helped with the Green New Deal. He serves on international panel of experts on sustainable food system and is advising governments on cause and solutions to the crisis of sustainability worldwide. So welcome Rupa and Raj.

Raj Patel:
Thanks so much, Mark.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Thanks you, Mark.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, it’s really great to have you. I’m so excited for this topic. It’s one of my favorites and I thought about it. I’ve written about it a lot ,and I’ve had the chance to work in underserved communities. I’ve had the chance to work in developing countries. I’ve had the chance to work on Native American reservations and Nez Perce where I worked for four years in the Hopi reservation. And I’ve been to a lot of these places where you talk about these health disparities and these health issues. And the problem is that you talk about this idea that seems to be a little bit hard for people to digest and swallow, this idea of colonization. That our food system and our society has been colonized. And we’re like, oh, well, yeah, the British had the colonies and we were colonizing America.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And we had India being colonized by the British, and it was a huge year of colonialism, which essentially was taking and stealing all the natural resources from countries that were new and unexplored and using them for the wealthy in these nations. But in our country, we don’t really think of our country being colonized that much. But it really is. If you look at the extraordinary health disparities, if you look at the challenges in certain communities where life expectancy can be anywhere from 10 to 40 years less, we have the developing world statistics right here in America. I mean, the Pima Indians, their life expectancy is I think 46, right? They get diabetes at the age of 30 years old, about 80% of them have diabetes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s a symptom of colonization. And I really didn’t to really fully understand this concept of structural changes that you’re talking about. And I’m just giving a little preface for everybody, so they know the context of what we’re talking about and they start asking you guys questions. It’s not just me talking. I promise. So, because I’ve experienced a lot about this, and I want to share my experience and then sort of take off on that. And I went to Haiti after the earthquake, and I met Paul Farmer who wrote a lot about this idea called structural violence. And this is really what you’re talking about. What are the social economic and political conditions that drive disease? And he found in Haiti he could cure TB and Aids, not by better drugs or surgery, but by simply having community health workers. He called it accompaniment.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We accompany each other to health. And he dealt with the structural issues of poverty and lack of water and sanitation, and lack of having a watch to know when to take your TB meds which have to be on a certain schedule. And he really showed the world that this model of addressing the structural changes really works for infectious disease. And Bill Gates and the Clinton Foundation, all these have used his model. But what occurred to me down there, and I think you clearly have outlined this in your book Inflamed which really has just come out, incredible book. Everybody should get it. You talk about the chronic disease pandemic being also one that’s related to structural violence, and it’s not just infectious disease and lack of water, sanitation, and poverty, but it’s also all these obesity-related issues, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, all these things that are really breaking our system and are causing economic havoc and making COVID so much worse.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And you talk about that. Those are really structural issues. And that sort of got me thinking about it. And a few years ago, I was also on a rafting trip on the Green River with the Native American Hopi chief and a chief. And the Hopi chief was very overweight. He and his wife were severely overweight, diabetic, on insulin shots, drinking Coca-Cola and just kind of, I mean, he was the head of one of his clans and did all these incredible, traditional ceremonial rituals in his culture. And I said to him, “Howard, you can change your diabetes. You can reverse it.” He’s like, “What do I have to do?” And I said, “Well, you have to not eat sugar and all the starchy stuff you’re eating.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And he’s like, “Oh. Well, that’s going to be a problem.” I said, “Why?” He said, “Well, because we have our traditional Hopi ceremonies, and we have our traditional Hopi ceremonial foods.” And I’m like, “Well, what are they?” And he’s like, “Well, Coke, cookies and cake and pies.” And I’m like, those are not your traditional foods or the Indian fry bread, which is deep fried flour and trans fats and lard. And another woman was on that trip who was with the youth community. So they have a word for people who become really large on the Native American reservations. They call it Commod bod, meaning they’ve eaten all the commodities that the government surplus has shipped to them. So the government, all the food that is just leftover food, flour, sugar, Crisco, basically trans fats, they send to the reservations. And that’s what they started eating, and they became morbidly obese.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So these are the real changes. Then we cannot address our healthcare crisis. We cannot address our economic crisis, our social crisis, unless we address the food system issues that underlie the structural problems that are driving disease. So I can’t tell you how excited I am by your book, because it really is the first time I’ve seen this laid out so clearly and so well and in such a simple way to understand and calling out things that really need to get called out. So thank you for writing it.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Thank you.

Raj Patel:
Thank you for reading it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So that was a long-winded introduction. I’m sorry about that. But I’d like you, Rupa, to talk about the two decades you’ve spent studying how these social structures, these structural violence predisposes these marginalized groups to illness and, how are these two things connected?

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Yes. So I think you hit the nail on the head when you’re looking at these Commod bod. I just want to emphasize that this isn’t just a problem of marginalized people, people who are suffering under the brunt of colonialism, the worst. So our indigenous friends, our undocumented community, black community in the United States, people who are suffering the worst social oppression have the most profound expression of inflammatory disease. But in fact, everybody in industrialized nations is subject to getting these diseases.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And what looked at in this book is really going back 600 years to where a cosmology of thought came from Europe to this land, to what is now called the United States of America, this understanding of… Or the misunderstanding of life as humans over here and everything that’s wild in nature over here, us being separate from the web of life, or man over here and woman over here, or mind over here and body over here, these errors of Cartesian dualism that were part of the ways of organizing structures of power in an era of colonial conquest of the rest of the world.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
So it’s much easier to take someone’s land and take their wealth and take their resources and enslave them if they’re seen as subhuman, or actually they’re not really doing anything with that land in the first place. So let’s just go take it over. And so that error of thought really has set us up to having very shallow medicine, shallow ways of addressing how we’re getting sick and why we’re getting sick. So when someone who is, part of the elite or wealthy or white, let’s say, gets diabetes, we offer medicines, we offer insulin, we offer injections pharmaceuticals. We don’t offer an analysis of all the ways that critical relationships that support our health and wellbeing have been disrupted by colonial capitalism. And that is what we’re looking at in this book is really the root causes of the rise of inflammatory disease around the world.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And that is, when you’re talking about diabetes and obesity and cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s and cancer, and even depression and suicide, all of these things have been tied to inflammatory phenomenon in the body. And so we see that in our research and analysis, Raj and I, what we have seen is that the social structures and the environmental structures around the body are the place where the disease is. And the body’s immune system is just reacting in an evolutionarily conserved way, in a proper way to damage and the threat of damage.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And that response is the inflammatory response. So it’s not like we’re doing something that’s abnormal or wrong. The body is simply trying to correct itself in the face of this damage, whether the damage is coming from glyphosate in our cereals, whether the damage is coming from payday loans, whether the damage is coming from historical trauma of having your land stolen, such as the Pima folks, that these toxicities in the world around the body are the damage that is provoking an inflammatory response in the body.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And so usually the inflammatory response when there’s damage is activated to correct the damage to restore what we call homeostasis, the body’s optimum working conditions. And then it turns off. Unfortunately in a colonial capitalist society, all of us are subject to ongoing damage because the air is polluted. And because the water, the groundwater, even if you’re growing organic wine, you’re pulling from groundwater that’s been contaminated by glyphosate.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
So there’s actually no way to avoid the insinuations of environmental poisoning that has happened through the corporate control of our food system and our policies. And so this is what we looked at very deeply in this book is the summation of exposures, whether it’s police violence, whether it’s breathing the air here in East Oakland, whether it’s being able to afford healthy food, these kinds of things add up into a toxic combination. When you talk about the Pima folks, 80% of them having diabetes, it reminds me of the impact of colonial expression in Lakota Dakota territory, where I’m working to help set up a clinic with the community there. The Mni Wiconi Health Circle is what we’re calling it. Now it’s a clinic and a farm. And that…

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Which by the way, is a radical idea. Bringing healthcare and farming together should be universal, but it’s something that’s really radically new.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Well, it’s actually radically old. And so for these communities…

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh sure, but not in America.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Well, yeah. So these folks, when the Missouri River was damned, so when that dam went up, it flooded the Cottonwood Forests that the Lakota, Dakota, Nakota people used to get their food and medicine from. So they used to go and have this relationship with these forests. And once they were flooded, they became completely dependent upon the commodities that were sent by the state.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
So they became more sedentary. They didn’t go out and harvest. The buffalo were exterminated. I think something like 60 million Buffalo, the largest genocide on this land. And so they lost those crucial contacts with their food and medicine ways. And they always knew that medicine and food were connected. It was never separate. And so that is really an exciting thing, that connection to see that it is actually in the literal changing of the flow of rivers. So it’s not abstract, it’s not metaphorical. It’s the literal changing of the way rivers run has changed the way our bodies are responding, and indigenous people have been most impacted here in this land.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, it’s so true. And you’re talking about the idea of inflammation. I mean, the same story happened in the Hopi is where the Colorado River was dammed, and all their ability to grow food and their traditional food ways were all disrupted. And again, they’re like the guy I met on the rafting trip. But you talked about the inflammation and how it’s actually a natural response to what’s happening. And so when you cut your skin and you get bacteria, your body sends an army of your immune system to go create inflammation, redness, and swelling, and tenderness. That’s all a good thing to deal with an acute injury.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The problem is that we’re constantly injuring our bodies in the same way as we’re cutting ourselves by the food we’re eating by the stresses we’re under, by the structural environments of poverty and disenfranchisement, and lack of a sense of a locus of control and other traumas that are even worse, sexual trauma, physical traumas. All of these things get really written into our genes. They get written into our biology in ways that you’re describing in your book. So, Raj, what was sort of unique for you as you began to sort of thinking about this from a medical perspective, because your focus has been on capitalism and colonialism and food systems from a sort of political and structural view at a very high level, although you talk about the health impacts. How did this sort of change your thinking about what we need to be doing around our food and food systems?

Raj Patel:
Well, thanks for asking, Mark. And I mean, part of the journey for me was realizing that there are so many pathways to and from health. And learning how these circuits work within the body helped me to make connections between the circuits that I was seeing outside the body in terms of flows of life and flows within the economy. So for example, through the sort of work with Rupa, I was able to finally sort of wrap my arms around a statistic around debt for example.

Raj Patel:
I mean, in the United States, there’s a fast explosion of consumer debt. And right now, as we record, there’s the end of the eviction moratorium, which means that a lot of people are going to be finding themselves either with much higher rent or on the streets and on the house. Now the debts that come with that are an acute form of capitalist stress, and who should swoop in, but the financial, the sort of the robber barons of finance offering things like payday loans. For those listeners who don’t know, if you have a payday loan of say 300 bucks, you will probably end up paying payday loan rates about $800 back. And those kinds of loans are incredibly stressful to manage. And they manifest themselves…

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Isn’t that called usury and illegal and what organized crime usually does?

Raj Patel:
Yes. In other parts of the world it’s illegal. In the United States, it’s licensed, and that’s because we are at the apex of this kind of predatory capitalism. But what I didn’t fully appreciate was how that stress works through our body, through our microbiomes, through our guts, through our skin and through our endocrine system and finally drives us towards despair and stress. And so a statistic that I came across when we were researching this, that certainly blew me away and I think Rupa was less surprised because she understood the mechanisms, but if we were to abolish payday loans, the suicide rate in the United States would drop by 1.9%. And the fatal overdose rate for narcotics would drop by 8.9%.

Raj Patel:
Now, one can prop that out in an economics discussion or in a medical discussion, but when you do it in both, I think you get the full kind of span of how our bodies, everyone’s bodies are stressed by the kinds of everyday rough and tumble of capitalism. And unless medicine opens its eyes to saying, a good medical intervention here would be to ban payday loans. Then we are stopping short of how it is that we might heal one another.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
No, that’s what we’re so bad at in medicine. So what Raj was just describing that an actual structural change. So we’ve gotten good at now noticing the structural determinants of health, but we have no training in how to understand where those structures came from, why they were put there, and then how to dismantle them. And that’s what we see with COVID. As soon as we saw the racial disparities, everyone’s talking about it, but no one has come forth and said, let’s do universal basic income. So all of these folks can just stay home and ride out this wave.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Instead, it’s been the cattle prodding of black and brown workers back to serving the interests of Jeff Bezos so he can go on a joy ride. So that’s the kind of grotesque, lack of care for each other we’re seeing manifest here. So we have the ability to notice and to describe in medicine, but we don’t go that extra step at prescribing a change because modern medicine is a part of that colonial capitalist project that this land was colonized by medics, missionaries, and military. And so that we have to understand that what we are a part of, so that we can actually effectively leverage and push on points of pressure to change the things that would actually bring real population level health outcome changes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s really true. I think, I think we have to go back. And I know in my electronic medical record at Cleveland Clinic, we now have this new feature, which is your social determinants of health. And you kind of feel it, but then it’s like, well, now what? What do you do? We still aren’t seeing one-on-one patients in the office hoping we’re going to fix them. When what happens in the office, isn’t really the main determinant of health. 80% of our health happens outside the clinic, and I’m not going to cure diabetes in my office. It’s cured in the farm. It’s cured in the grocery store. It’s cured in the kitchen, at the restaurants. That’s where it’s cured. And I think we don’t even talk about that. And as a doctor, I’m so shocked that you actually have gotten this because we basically learn the exact opposite, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We can fix everything, just come to us. We got you, just follow these instructions, go home. And it’s just a farce. And it’s why we’re seeing escalating costs, escalating rates, and all these inflammatory diseases. And it’s something we don’t really talk about what to do. And I don’t want to get into what to do about it because I think that the concept of how do we solve this is really challenging because it’s a big problem.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But Raj, you said something I want to sort of push back on a little bit. You talked about this idea, both of you sort of touched on it, and I just want to push back around this idea of colonialism and capitalism. One, are they the same thing? And two, is capitalism inherently the problem, or is it a corrupted capitalism that is causing the problem? Meaning it’s basically rigged and geared for the wealthy, but not for everybody.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it’s not really truly free market because if it was free market, then all the externalities and costs would be built into the price of the goods you’re buying. So a price of Coca-Cola would be probably a hundred dollars looking at the impact on soil, on pollution, on the degradation of our water systems and air quality and climate and health. And I mean, we’d be paying for this out four times, that would be the price. So how do you sort of frame it in a way that people are listening, well, what are we expecting communism? What’s the answer?

Raj Patel:
Let me take a stab at that first, by just explaining that there are lots of different kinds of colonialism, and there’s long histories in the history of human civilizations of one civilization coming in and displacing or altering another. You see that throughout Asia, you see that even on the land that I find myself on, it used to be Tonkawa land. And then it was invaded by the Comanche empire. And then it became temporarily part of the Spanish empire, then part of Mexico, and then now the United States. So there’s a palimpsest on the land.

Raj Patel:
So colonialism is one thing where just one power comes in and occupies and dominates another. I think capitalism is this sort of tendency, not towards competition and to free markets, but actually to monopoly. And I think that’s the important thing to remember here when we’re talking about capitalism, is that. And you know this well, Mark. I know that this is a kind of softball question, but you know this well through your work in your study in Food Fix for example, and in thinking about how food corporations work. The way that capitalism has worked in the food system has not been to generate an abundance of free markets and competition and true costs being revealed, but exactly the opposite, right?

Raj Patel:
The report came out from the Rockefeller Foundation a couple of weeks back saying, look, you don’t just say spend $1.1 trillion on food every year. But the damage caused by these corporations, which they have been managed to make other people pay for is $2.3 trillion. So for every dollar we spend on food, more than $2 need to be spent cleaning up what these capitalists corporations have created. So what we’re saying is that capitalist colonialism…
PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:24:04]

Raj Patel:
[inaudible 00:24:00]. So what we’re saying is that catalyst colonialism is a way of breaking relationships between people, and between people, and place and the rest of the web of life. It’s a way of concentrating power in the hands of a few people rather than democratizing it. And so what we’re excited about is actually what would it be like to have free exchange? What would it be like to have people be sovereign over their decisions in the way that pure economic theory suggests they might one day be? And we like the idea of, for example of competing ideas and that’s why we like science a great deal. We like the idea of level playing fields. But unfortunately, colonial capitalism has prevented those from happening.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). It has, and you’re right, the monopolies are true. You look at the food industry, we see all these brands, not only hundreds, thousands of brands, but there’s nine companies that own all the brands. If you look at the chemical and seed and ag companies, they were hundred, 20, 30 years ago. Now there’s six, that does provide all the chemicals and seeds. And we see this, the consolidation, the monopolization, the structural changes that really undermine the ability to actually start to create change. Because all of a sudden it was, there really was democratization of our food system, then new ideas can bubble up and change can happen and people will be able to implement alternatives. And now it’s very, very tough.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And these behemoths, like Nestle and Mandalay’s, and Pepsi, Coke and all these giant companies are so dominant that it’s very hard to get them to shift. I mean, they’re thinking about, they’re looking at, they’re feeling the pressure from our culture, but it’s really tough. So as you guys have come to understand this and understand the structural violence and understand the colonization of our society in general, how have you understood the food colonization? Because I think it’s something that’s new and these terms have been passed around like food apartheid, and food colonization, and the decolonization of food and medicine. What is that, and what does it mean, and what do we do?

Dr. Rupa Marya:
So I just want to take a moment to point out a couple of the things that you’ve said Mark, that hit on it, because I was trained in the same medical system. That hit on the errors of thought that we are trying to move away from in our book. One of them was talking about the immune system is unleashing an army, right? So what we talk about in our book is that the immune system, these metaphors that we use as in the invisible enemy that’s COVID, and we’re fighting disease and we’re out there with these armies of white blood cell. The militaristic imagery is coming from that same time of colonial conquest. And we think about self versus other, and that’s an error of thought of how the immune system actually works, which is to repair damage. That is what our bodies are trying to do.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
We’re not out there fighting an internal, epic battle in our bodies. Our bodies are simply trying to restore the optimum working condition, so that. And then to posit that the opposite of the violence system of colonial capitalism is communism, and to use the language of red [crosstalk 00:27:09].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I knew people were thinking that, that’s why I was-

Dr. Rupa Marya:
I know and that why I’m the one to address it. I want to address it. Because again, this is not a dichotomy that we are sophisticated, highly imaginative, amazing creatures that have a whole repertoire of ideas and creations and experiments and expressions that go beyond the dichotomy between an economic system that is currently destroying the planet and everything that supports human life on it. And another economic system that we’ve seen exist in authoritarian models that don’t, it doesn’t feel particularly inviting. So I just want to share that. In terms of what decolonizing medicine and food means to me is it starts with the concept of deep medicine, which is what we have conceptualized as being an analogy to deep ecology.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
So deep ecology is the understanding of ecology beyond and outside a human centered approach. That life around us is vital and beautiful and amazing and deserves to be respected regardless of its utility to human beings. It’s not simply there to be used biases, to move away from the Judeo-Christian framework of humans up here and life, the rest of life all down there.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The word in the Bible was dominion, which means to rule over as opposed to the word, which really was in the original Hebrew was stewardship.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Exactly and what’s interesting-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Which is more of care and not, you don’t own it, you’re basically a steward of taking care of it. And it’s a very different framework.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Exactly. A kinship. And that’s what, in that beautiful book, Braiding Sweetgrass. Kimmerer’s book, she looks at the myths, the stories of sky woman, who was the… That creation story is a story full of relationship. As opposed to Eve, which is the severing of relationship and the banishment from the garden. You don’t get to eat any more from here. And now you get to menstruate and be in pain. So just the whole framework is what kind of a reality, what kind of story do you want to live with? And what we’re saying is that, deep medicine is understanding, it’s those relationalities that were actually interrupted through a colonial capitalist framework. And we join those two together because it’s the way that capitalism spread. And it was the architecture of cosmology, the way of understanding who we are in relationships to things.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Things needed to be severed in order to exploit them. You needed to be able to see the mountain as inanimate in order to mine it and riddle it with holes. You needed to see the river as not a person in order to pollute it. You needed to see the salmon as a commodity in order to not sing to it, so you could club it over the head and rip out it’s eggs, which is how they farm salmon. I mean, it’s the most grotesque thing I’ve ever seen. And so I think that deep medicine is understanding that health cannot be pursued on an individual level. That health can only be attained in proper relationship to each other and the entire web of life. And so those activities that we can do around our food system, that we rewaken, rehydrate our ancient relationships to seeds, to water, to soil, to each other, are going to be a part of that practice of decolonizing our food system.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And it is directly anticapitalist. It is saying there’s no place in this for turning profits and consolidating power and having dominion, as an executive having dominion over the workers in the fields. So it’s about honoring and respecting our dignity and the dignity of all the entities around us that support our health, and that are vital for our health. And I feel like for me as the doctor, nowhere, is this more exciting. So this shows the gap between the practice of medicine and how we’re being educated in medical schools and even the cutting edge of the science right now. There’s a 30, 40, maybe 60 year gap. So we’re still being taught of the digestive system. Is this tube that goes from your mouth to your anus, and food goes through [inaudible 00:31:34].

Dr. Rupa Marya:
But it’s in fact, a whole rich forest. And that forest needs to be tended like an ecologist. Deep medicine is really understanding those relationships and putting them into good practice. And it’s something that-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s like ecological medicine.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
It’s like ecologies of our socially ecologies, our political ecologies, our biological ecologies. And those are ways of thinking of medicine that are so exciting. And my medical students who are especially black are coming up to me wanting to quit medical school, because they know the science. They’re like, “What we’re learning in medical school is not scientifically, it’s not actually based in the real science that’s here right now in front of us.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, it’s 20th century, it’s not 21st century thinking.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Well it’s enlightenment, it’s even beyond… I mean, it’s so far gone and it needs to reassert itself because the lines of power within medicine in those hierarchies, are recalcitrant to change. And that’s exactly what decolonizing medicine is, is to change them, to move them.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s so true. My daughter is starting medical school in a week from today. And I said, “Look.” I said, “You’re going to get brainwashed, here’s what they’re going to teach you, here’s the real story. And I’m not paying for medical school unless you read these books.” I’m going to put your book on the list of what she needs to read and you should… For everybody listening, we’re talking to Raj Patel and Dr. Rupa Marya, and they have written an incredible book, really an incredible book that it changes our thinking about why we’re so sick, why we’re so overweight? Why our healthcare system is so burdened? And this book, I think it was going to be a pivotal shift in our thinking it’s called Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And in terms of the anatomy of injustice, I’m going to switch over to you Raj for a minute, because I think you give a beautiful explanation Rupa, of deep medicine. What is the anatomy of injustice and what are you talking about? And how did we get the food system we got?

Raj Patel:
Well, I mean the reason we chose the idea of anatomy of injustice is because we’ve structured this book as a kind of anatomy, it’s an introduction to the immune system, to the respiratory system, circulatory. And we go through it a number of bodily systems as one might in one’s first year of medical school. So the idea of presenting things anatomically is something that we’re taking from the world of medicine, but we’re transforming it. And we’re along the journey trying to really delve into precisely the kinds of histories you’re asking about, Mark. “Oh, how did we get here? And a lot of the error comes in thinking that there’s one entity of society over here, and that society was initially populated by white men who had property and the working class and women and indigenous people. And enslaved people were firmly outside that alongside nature and the rest of the way of life.

Raj Patel:
And then gradually more and more humans were invited into society after having fought for that right. But what that sets off though is, as Rupa was saying, the possibilities of being able to exploit and take things from the land. And so really those first moments of what we understand now as the world food system were birthed in the 1400s with the island of Madeira and sugar plantations in the Atlantic. And then really, the ball gets rolling in 1492 with the arrival of Columbus in the Americas, in the Western hemisphere. But then also with the clearing of Jews for example, from Iberia. The arrival of the modern nation state and its technologies of finance and exploitation and racial purity happened in the same year, and it’s not an accident.

Raj Patel:
And it’s food corporations in particular, who were very interested in this rolling colonialism, a frontier of where can we find the best land? Where we find the cheapest labor? Where we find the cheapest food products? And the first product of colonialism are precisely the food that comes back, or the cotton, or the tobacco. It’s all about agriculture, and that’s important to bear in mind because when we think now of, well of course the United States isn’t colonized. Contraire, the wealth of this country was made possible through food and agriculture, and there’s still a fairly large debt to be redressed. And again, as we mentioned earlier on, those debts are amounting every day because the corporations that now run our food system have 600 years of practice of making other people pay for the costs that they generate.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s so truly. The true cost of food concept that the Rockefeller Foundation put a report on recently is staggering. It’s actually how I started my book, which is talking about what is the true cost of the food we’re eating in our human, in the human community and in the natural resources and our economic resources? So what are the real costs to our social, our natural capital and our human capital. I mean, those are real phenomenon that we’re not really addressing at all in our thinking about how to solve some of our biggest problems.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I want to get into a little bit about the, before we get into the link between systemic inequality, trauma and families, inflammation, and immune system, chronic disease, I want to talk about what do you mean by the colonization of our food system? Give any examples of what that looks like. Is it all the bodegas in underserved communities that are only serving junk food? Or is it more than that?

Raj Patel:
Well, I mean I’ll take a crack at this just because I grew up in a bodega, in Britain that what my parents did. And for folk who are not watching this, I speak with a posh British accent because my ancestors were colonized by posh British people. And I found my way back to Britain-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You’re Indian, great.

Raj Patel:
Yeah. But again, my parents are from Kenya and from Fiji. So again, outposts of the British empire, and there’s that long history of direct exposure to it. And of course now, my parents were the canaries in the coal mine for the British food system, as we transitioned to the standard American diet. Sad, as I’m sure your listeners will know is referred to in the literature, but the standard American diet came to Britain. And who was in the front line, but, folk who’ve been exposed previously to poverty and therefore were more predisposed to developing type two diabetes and heart disease and had history’s of that.

Raj Patel:
And so the British Asian appreciation community’s has fall higher rates of type two diabetes for example, than white British people. Now a colonized food system is not just about crap sold from stores that my parents have, for example. But also I mean, it’s about a severed relationship to understanding where that food comes from and what counts as food and what counts as medicine? I think that this goes back to something that we began our conversation with, which is how do you know that something is a medicine? The way you know is because a doctor has told you that it’s medicine, but how do you know that something isn’t medicine? Again, a doctor has told you, well that’s not out, it is not licensed, and therefore it isn’t a medicine.

Raj Patel:
Now, one of the ways that we are trying to pierce that is by saying, look, there’s a cosmology in which under clinical capitalism that food and medicine is split up. But actually there are lots of healing traditions in which food and medicine are… You can’t draw a line between them, [crosstalk 00:39:21].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Almost everyone, except ours. Everyone except ours.

Raj Patel:
Exactly. I think if we have that as a reference point then Mark, that ought to serve as an indication of how broken our understanding of food and medicine is, and that’s what it is to be colonized. Is to think, oh yeah, this thing where half the ingredients I can’t even pronounce is food, whereas this beautiful plant, which I have not recognized yet, but grows around me every day, I don’t know whether I can eat or not. That is a colonized food system.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Yes. And I think that, so Lakota elder, [inaudible 00:39:55], who we quote in our book. She would say to us, she would say to me, “We have a concept of medicine where everything around us is medicine, you don’t just get medicine when you’re sick. Medicine is what you interact with every day, several times a day to keep you well. So reaching out for that plant is medicine. That Sage, is medicine. Being with the Buffalo fur, that’s medicine, I’m singing a song that’s medicine.” And we can look at that as, oh, how trivial and cute that is, those savage natives, they say, the way that colonial thinking, organizes indigenous knowledge and wisdom, and then scientific truth.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
But in fact, when you look at the data around singing for example, and vocalizing and chanting and what it does through the vagus nerve and how it’s activating the parasympathetic nervous system, it’s actually driving down inflammation, it’s an anti-inflammatory experience. And so what we’ve seen is that a lot of the indigenous from the tribes that I’ve interacted here in Aloni territory, where I’m speaking to you from today to Lakota territory, is that a lot of the things that they call medicine are actually things that are quite anti-inflammatory, which is fascinating. And so is it a surprise that many of those societies were organized in a way that didn’t have the hoarding of resources that we see with our society? Or did they understand that somehow that hoarding might be inflammatory or might lead to more disease?

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And so I think it’s, I think that one thing that surprised me in writing the book was understanding… Not surprised me, but it was nice to see it written and examined that what we call indigenous knowledge or ecological knowledge for example, is a science. And it’s a science that occurs over millennia. It is peer reviewed, but it is transmitted through oral history and it’s peer reviewed in a different way. But that doesn’t mean it’s somehow less valid or-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It may be more, it turns out to be maybe more effective.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Exactly, when you’re looking at-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s not just the point throwback to the past, it’s actually addressing the question of why are we sick and how do we get better?

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Exactly. When you look at the microbiome science for example, so this great paper came out by the Sonnenburg lab in Stanford saying that, if you eat-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now you’re talking my language poop, I like to talk about poop.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Poop, you like to talk about poop. Well, here this is a interesting thing. So if you eat fermented foods for 10 weeks, the more you eat, the more bio diverse your gut becomes, and then 19 different levels of markers of inflammation will fall, right? And that’s great, that’s grand, that’s helpful. But the same Sonnenburg is off trying to commodify that the crap out of the indigenous people who’ve actually protected their microbiota. So when you look at the rates of biodiversity of the gut microbiome, the urban US dweller has the least bio diverse guts on planet earth. The most bio diverse guts are indigenous people whose cultures are still intact. Hunter, gatherers, whose cultures are still intact.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And the more bio diverse the gut are, and we’re still trying to understand the science behind this, but what we’ve found is that a greater biodiversity of the gut is associated with lower levels of inflammatory disease. Everything from inflammatory bowel disease, to depression and diabetes and obesity. And so this guy Sonnenburg is off trying to take the poop and turn into a re wilding of the gut. And here’s your indigenous poop. Here’s your poop from a bio diverse gut, go and take it. But the problem with that-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s why I’m going to write a book called paleo poop.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
But the problem with that is that you can’t take just the poop without taking the entire cosmology. You cannot separate the biological thing from the whole system of relationships that supported that ecology. That ecology is intact and bio diverse because of the ways in which those people are in relationship to the web of life. And that cannot be approximated, it cannot be bottled and sold. And that is what, it’s important to name that as a part of the same capitalist sickness. Is that you can’t, you cannot do that. You have to re enter these relationships, there’s no easy way out, and that’s exciting. Because there’s people on planet earth, okay they’re 5% of the human population right now. They’re stewarding the most biodiversity inside and outside of their bodies, but they know how to live on this earth without destroying it, and they know how to live on this earth without inflammatory disease.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And they’ve been doing it for 30,000, maybe since time began. They’ve been doing it forever. And so that’s, to me as a person on this earth, working in health and concerned about the future of our planet for my children and grandchildren, that’s extremely exciting. Is to enter relationships with those folks, reciprocal, respectful relationships, and to help the indigenous people in my community, reclaim that land, that knowledge, that power that’s in their lineage, and to support them in that work. So that is, I feel like the future of medicine.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Because what you’re really intimating here is that as a society, we have a soul sickness. And that our souls have been disconnected from the origins of life, from our land, from our food, from our communities. And that we’re seeing this epidemic of both mental health issues that you talked about earlier, Raj from the suicide rates, or was that you? I can’t remember. And the disconnection and the isolation, and the social disempowerment, has really being a soul sickness that needs to be healed by finding our place in the family of things. And that’s what you’re talking about. And I think it’s a beautiful notion and a beautiful idea, and for someone who has been working in the food system for years and thinking about it for years, the challenge to me, is I don’t have any argument with the framework of what you’re talking about.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But given the way our society has been completely dominated by this colonialist capitalist model and the way in which our populations have been so disenfranchised. And aren’t even aware that they’re disenfranchised. The internalized racism, the internalized structural violence, how do we emerge from that? Because other than just radically changing our society and radically changing our policies and radically changing our economic structures, how do we begin to address this pandemic? Because as someone who’s on the front lines of chronic disease, it’s a staggering phenomenon. I can tell you, I started doing this 25 years ago, and I look at my slides from 1996. And then, wow, I keep having to change the slides because there was 30% obese, then 40, then 50, then 60, then 75.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And diabetes, chronic disease should be maybe three out of 10 people, then it’s four out of 10, then it’s five out of 10, then it’s six out of 10. Every year I’ve been changing my slides and it’s getting worse and worse, and yet we understand it more and more. And somehow we’re not able to bridge that gap. How do we do that?

Dr. Rupa Marya:
I would say, first of all, I just want to give a shout out to-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[inaudible 00:47:30].

Dr. Rupa Marya:
No, to Jack Forbes, read another book called Columbus and Other Cannibals. He was a native American scholar here in UC Davis. And he talks about the spirit sickness, which is called, he calls it Wetiko or Wendigo, which is an Algonquin word. And it’s literally the spirit sickness of colonial society and societies that dominate each other. He calls it like a vampire that you’re sucking the soul off of other living creatures or other entities in a non reciprocal non-respectful-
PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:48:04]

Dr. Rupa Marya:
… entities in a non-reciprocal, non-respectful way in order to support your own life, in order to support your own… And that this society is sick. He calls it a spirit sickness. And so, the cure, Mark, is a radical re-imagining of our society. And the good news is that we’ll address, not just the rising rates of inflammatory disease that you’ve noticed, but also the burning of our planet. And so, there is no tiny tweak we can do. There is no little, just move this around. There are things we can push for right now, Medicare For All, a Green New Deal. There are large policies we can try to move with. But truly, what we need to do is reimagine every way in which we relate to each other in the web of life, because the ones that we’ve inherited, the ones that have been handed to us through a colonial, capitalist cosmology are making us sick and making the planet uninhabitable for human life. And it’s urgent that this happens soon, and that we start this work now.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It seems like the world leaders have no idea that chronic disease has anything to do with our political and social structures. They’re just, “Well, disease happens over here, and the economy happens over here, and they’re not really related.” But it’s really such a profound connection.

Raj Patel:
You’d think the pandemic would kind of nudge people into the right direction. Having spent a year under lockdown, you would think that there’d be some sort of rising consciousness between the origins of zoonotic disease, the way in which industrial agriculture spits out more and more of these zoonotic diseases at rates that have already created outbreaks in other parts of the world, and where in 2007, we had the H1N1 outbreak as a result of a pork processing facility.

Raj Patel:
These kinds of things are ongoing, and there are sort of small things that we can offer as promissory notes. For example, buy organic and sustainable, and go to your farmer’s market, find out where your food comes from, have conversations about how workers are treated, find out about the land.

Raj Patel:
But don’t think that that’s the work. That’s just a reminder to yourself that you’ve got to… In the same way that, instead of saying, “I’m fighting something off,” which I said the other day. I sort of corrected myself. I was like, “No, I’m learning to live with something.” And just little sort of twists in the way that you think about things are important, not as a substitute for the big work of change and for working together in movements and in organizations, but they’re little things to remind you that the world isn’t the way it should be.

Raj Patel:
And therefore, eating organic is not of a protest, it’s not a way of making sure your body is a temple and the rest of the world burns to the ground, but instead, it’s a way of saying, no, everyone’s body ought to be treated with the respect that I’m treating mine, and the workers in the field are being treated by not being exposed to pesticides, but we can do better. And it’s a reminder of we can do better. And that there are so movements we chronicled in the book that are doing that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, Raj, you are not a lightweight when it comes to understanding food systems and the global food system and agriculture and the industrialization of it and the consequences it’s had on humans, on the Earth, on our water system, on everything. And you sound super optimistic, which is exciting to me, but I just want to sort of ask you, from your big tent framework, what are the practical steps that we have to do to move this forward?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, it just seems that we’re so stuck in a polarized society where we can’t even agree on the most basic things, the injustices that are glaringly obvious. I mean, we can’t even get Congress to agree that the insurrection at the Capitol was a problem. I mean, we’re talking about just the most obvious things, and yet we’re talking about here much more subtle ideas.

Raj Patel:
Well, I don’t know about [inaudible 00:51:57]. I mean, it’s important to have a pessimism of the intellect as well as an optimism of the will. One can’t think that just by putting daisies into the mailbox at Nestle, everything is going to be fine. There’s clearly a lot of work to do.

Raj Patel:
But there is quite a lot of agreement, if not in Congress, across America and the rest of the planet, that things like monopolies are bad, regulating them is a good thing. No one likes to be shafted by a big company. It doesn’t matter what your political orientation is. Unless you want the owner of that political company, large corporations doing the drafting, then you’re unhappy about the situation. And there is quite a lot of anger around the ways that food companies are treating us, and that is turning into certain kinds of legislation. Of course, it’s being fought tooth and nail by the industry.

Raj Patel:
But one of the other things about this pandemic that I learned about, and that bolstered my sense of the possibilities for change, is precisely what happens when… Governments are good at saying no to things, and we should be getting them to regulate and to reduce the levels of freedom that food corporations have, so the rest of us have more freedom.

Raj Patel:
But in the meantime, there are amazing organizations that are in the frontline battles for climate change, and equality, and food is a central part of the story. I mean, listeners may not have heard about a big protest in Colombia, but the first demand of student protest and this violent protest in Colombia was food sovereignty.

Raj Patel:
In Peru, we’ve just been seeing some contentious elections there, but communities that had zero cases of COVID, the indigenous communities were sending food out to the people where food was in short supply because the government had failed, the private sector had failed.

Raj Patel:
People are capable of taking care of one another in ways the food industry prevents, and then sometimes government prevents, too. The good news lies in the fact that government can change, and saying no to corporations is something that governments seem increasingly ready to do after this pandemic. And also, just injecting cash into the economy didn’t seem thinkable two, three years ago. Now, is something that governments recognize they can and should have been doing all along.

Raj Patel:
But then, the other thing is recognizing people power, and recognizing around the world that people are taking care of each other, under COVID, through gifts of food and exchanges of food, that aren’t getting reported in the New York Times, but are certainly happening on the ground.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. It’s staggering when you look at the implications of our food system and COVID. I forget the food insecurity, lack of access, to the fact that we throw half the stuff out and half the people are hungry.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But when you look at the recent trial, I mean, an analyst published, from Tufts, 63.5% of all hospitalizations from COVID, and probably the same amount of deaths, proportionately are related to poor diet, and the consequences of that diet creating inflammation, hence your book Inflamed, that predisposed people to more severe COVID. And that’s an entirely preventable thing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
When you look globally at the threat of COVID, the threat of COVID is a threat of hospitalization and death and overwhelming our healthcare system. That’s the real threat. And yet, that threat is almost entirely mitigated by changing our food and food systems. So, I don’t think we’re grappling with that well.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, I’m working on policy stuff. It’s hard to even get the government to pay for medically tailored meals for diabetics, even though we know that food is the treatment for diabetes, right? There’s no lack of evidence for data on that. It’s such a simple thing, and yet it’s not reimbursed. And it’s a challenge.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Well, we’re giving a talk. I’m going to be giving a talk in San Francisco to the board of supervisors around this work we’re doing in Ramaytush-Ohlone territory here. I started a nonprofit this year called The Deep Medicine Circle, and our work is to heal the wounds of colonialism through food, medicine, story, and learning.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And one of our first actions or projects is the rematriation of 38-acre farm to the original people, to the Ramaytush-Ohlone people, and to farm under their leadership using agro-ecology, where we hire farmers as healthcare workers. Essentially, they’re being paid as much as the doctors, to grow food that is then liberated from the market economy and goes straight up to San Francisco to give to urban people who are being oppressed by hunger.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And that if we take our food system and we just remove the profit motive, and we just say, “Okay, we are going to pay these farmers to steward our soils, to steward the water, and to grow the food that is going to be given to improve people’s health,” now there’s discussion in the public health department meeting with folks there about, “Well, why aren’t we doing this on a large scale in San Francisco? Why don’t we have a people’s farm, so that if you live in the city of San Francisco, no one ever goes hungry?”

Dr. Rupa Marya:
So I think, like this study from Tufts, COVID is a great opportunity to reframe, recast, and demand our rights to be healthy, and our rights to dignified healthcare, both for our patients and our workers. We should not be seeing nurses in trash bags because they simply don’t have enough PPE, as healthcare executives are making record profits, and we’re being forced on the frontline to be in less-than-safe conditions.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And so, the push for Medicare For All here in California, we have AB1400. I’m on the Healthy California for All commission. I was appointed by the governor to re-imagine financing in the State of California for our healthcare system.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And it’s a really hard time for people to get up and say, “Yeah, we really need those healthcare insurance companies,” because people are fed up with the financial abuse. That is an extractive system where the money that’s put into it is extracted for executive salaries, and not going directly to benefit patient care, and provider safety and wellbeing.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And what’s happening right now, Mark, in the hospital where I’m working, at UCSF, and in the Bay Area, is nurses are leaving. They’re leaving the job. So, now we’re in the midst of this Delta surge, and we have a staffing-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
A nursing crisis. Yeah.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
We have a staffing shortage. So, what does that mean for the workers that are there? They’re working even harder. And so, this is truly… So with this farm, we were calling the initiative Farming is Medicine. I’d love to tell you more about it as it goes up and live.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I know. Yes.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
We’re doing the same thing on… The largest rooftop farm in the West Coast is in Oakland. So all that food will be given to a food pharmacy at the UCSF pediatric clinic, right next door, so we have doctors and farmers hanging out together. We have community workers who have occupied housing for the sake of mothers not being homeless in Oakland, Moms for Housing. Dominique Walker is one of our interns on that rooftop. Those interns are teaching the doctors.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And so, that’s the exciting milieu of cross-pollination and systems-level-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s great.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
… thinking that only these kinds of creative collaborations can bring.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s so true.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And that’s because we’re dealing with systems-level failures, systems-level problems. We need more minds than one. We need all of us in there together. And we’re extremely creative. That’s where my optimism comes from, is the deep creativity of human beings. We can do this.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Do you think it’s going to well up from the bottom as opposed to being legislated?

Dr. Rupa Marya:
It has to.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Well, it should be legislated, but it should be-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It should.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
… legislated from the ideas of those who are the most impacted.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s true. This all reminds me of this summer program I went to when I was in college called the Institute for Social Ecology.

Raj Patel:
Oh, you went to that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes, I did. You heard about that?

Raj Patel:
Who was he?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Murray Bookchin, this crazy anarchist guy, [inaudible 00:59:38] anarchism.

Raj Patel:
[crosstalk 00:59:39].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And we had courses in biological agriculture. Now we’d call that agro-ecology. Energy-efficient shelter, holistic health, all these concepts. Anarchism and women’s studies. And we actually went down to Brooklyn. I mean, the Lower East Side, and we built rooftop farms before anybody was building rooftop beds in New York City. And we cleared out all the abandoned parking lots and made farms and gardens in the cities.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it was just like, to hear these ideas, this is not new thinking. Really. These are ideas that have been around. We’ve had this juggernaut of the food industry getting more and more consolidated, and the ag industry more and more consolidated, and disrupting our health in tragic ways that has almost been invisible.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And now, suddenly, it seems like we’re waking up to go, “Wait a minute. What has just happened here?” 40 years ago, it wasn’t like this. When I was growing up, we didn’t have those levels of disease and obesity. I mean, when I was born, I think the obesity rates were like, I don’t know, like 4%, and now they’re like 40%. So, it’s really a staggering change. And it’s almost happened so fast that we can’t accommodate to it.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, going back to this idea of the colonialization of our food system. You’ve described that pretty well. The other concept you’ve mentioned is food sovereignty. So, food sovereignty seems to be the antidote for colonialized food systems. How do you find food sovereignty? And how do we get there?

Raj Patel:
Well, food sovereignty merged from peasant movements in the 1990s, who said, “Look, food sovereignty is the opposite of food security.” People may be familiar with the idea of food security as being this thing where you have enough food to lead a healthy and productive life. That’s the definition of food security. You know where the food’s coming from, and you’re able to access it.

Raj Patel:
But as critics point out, you can be food secure in prison. Food security says nothing about how you get your food. It says nothing about your power to control the pipeline of what it is that you’re eating. So, you can be given prison food and a bag of vitamins, and everything’s going to be fine.

Raj Patel:
And in some ways, the sort of crazy end of the medicalization of our food system wants to do just that. Keep things as they are. Perhaps we’ll substitute meat with oatmeal, or some other kind of crazy invented synthetic protein. But then, add vitamins, and continue exploiting the environment until we arrive at the sixth extinction in its full glory.

Raj Patel:
Or we can move to something that involves much more democratizing of our food system. And the data suggests that when you democratize the food system, and when you put power in the hands of communities that are sovereign, they’re much better able to take care of land, and it’s much more carbon sequestration, climate resilient, and welfare increasing, than if you let either the government or the private sector take care of it.

Raj Patel:
So, food sovereignty is an attempt by communities to own the policy process around food. And a good example of that comes from the Los Angeles Unified School District. They’re the largest school district in the United States. They decided that they wanted to change their food system, to do five things: pay workers better, improve the local economy, improve animal welfare, and improve nutrition, and a measure of sustainability as well. And all of those five things become a non-dollarized way of counting change.

Raj Patel:
So, rather than going-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Changing our metrics.

Raj Patel:
Yeah, exactly. And so, rather than dollarizing, which was a mistake that actually anti-tobacco activists made in the 1970s. They said, “All right, tobacco industry, let’s put a dollar value on the number of people you killed.” And the minute they did that, they lost the moral high ground, and they had to convert suffering into dollars. And in that conversion, humans always lose and corporations always win.

Raj Patel:
So, instead of making that conversion, you stick with multi-dimensional indicators that you can track over time, so you’re measuring your progress. And now, all of a sudden, you have a non-dollarized, but measurable and actionable, framework for making sure that your local economy, and animal welfare, and all the rest of it gets better. And their good food purchasing policy now is about community control for over 5 million students in the United States.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean, a good food purchasing strategy is a great way to think about changing our food system. And for those who are-

Raj Patel:
That’s sovereignty.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, and for those who don’t know what that is, it’s a program developed to look at how schools purchase food, based on certain values that you spoke about. But, they’re looking at how do we do that for corporations who buy food, for the government, who is probably one of the biggest food purchasers. When you look at all the federal agencies and institutions, and [inaudible 01:04:19] in the state and local and federal hospitals.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Hospitals. Exactly.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hospitals, schools, prisons. I had a friend who was Japanese, and she told me this incredible story of how in Japan, in the prisons, they feed the prisoners whole foods. They feed them a macrobiotic diet, which is known to calm them down, to regulate their behavior, to equalize their mood, to lessen violence. Right? And they know… I don’t know how they figured that out.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Here, we know that if we swap out the diet of kids in a juvenile detention center, that the violence goes down by over 90%. Restraints go down by 75%. Suicide goes down by 100%, just by getting kids off of junk food and eating some real food. Probably not even the best food, just not the crap, and a little bit of good food.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s the power of this model. And we have to start to re-imagine our approach to thinking about this that doesn’t keep us stuck in the lack… Actually, you know what, I think even if we have food security in America, we don’t have nutrition security, and they’re quite different. Food security is, “I’m on food stamps. I can have a two-liter bottle of soda and a giant bag of chips. I’ll have cookies, and I’m food secure because I have enough calories.” That’s going to cause you to feel sick and not be functional, not work, and be depressed and inflamed.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s not nutrition security, which is access to real whole foods that’s going to promote health and wellbeing and help you advance. And I think the structural changes that we’re seeing in our society that are from the food system, in the way you describe it, is really driving some of the worst challenge we see around social justice, around racism. I mean, just the life expectancy drop that we saw in the last report of three years in Black and Hispanic communities.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We should all be going, “Wait a minute. Why is this happening? What’s going on? What’s the cause of it?” And yes, it’s more than just food. It’s the traumas, it’s inter-generational issues. But food is such a central piece of that, and it perpetuates a cycle.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it seems to me, one of those levers, like Archimedes’ lever, to actually change the whole dynamic of what’s happening in our society, from sickness and the consequences of our food system, to one that’s more able to create a healthy society. And we just are so far from that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But I have rays of hope. I see these things happening on the margins. I see what you’re doing, Rupa, and the things you’ve been talking about, Raj. And I get really inspired to think, “Wow, there are a lot of people thinking about this and working on it.” And I think you’re doing the hard work, which is fantastic.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I want to sort of change the subject a little bit and talk about how, as a doctor, you have somehow figured out that farming was medicine, and that we can’t separate healthcare from food cultivation, and how we grow our food, and the agricultural systems.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Well, I married a farmer.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There you go.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
So, that helps. But before that, I actually made a… When I was single, I said, “Okay, I either want to work with someone who’s saving seeds or they’re a computer hacktivist.” I had it nailed down to the-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
A computer hacktivist?

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Yeah. A computer hacktivist. I don’t know. It was when I was touring around the world-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
What is that? I don’t even know what that is.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
But for me, because of my work in music, and where music has taken me as a socially conscious artist, and the life I’ve created for myself, insisting upon my role, my work as a physician-artist. Because it was in the touring and the curiosity of my own mind, as I was reading works like Raj’s work, as I was traveling to Athens during the financial collapse of 2008 and 2009, hanging out with the anarchists there who were taking over the botanical gardens and turning it into tomato fields, and growing food, and putting up pop-up clinics to address how people were committing suicide in the streets.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And so, I was grateful to be welcomed through my music into communities who are continuing to do what we’re calling deep medicine. That they’ve made these connections, that they’ve understood them, and that they’re organizing practices around these connections to advance health. And their advancement of health is far beyond, in terms of impact, what we’re able to do in the hospital, or as an individual with individual patients.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And so, that was really inspiring to me as a healer, as a thinker. And it was through my music that I was invited to accompany the Frisco Five hunger strikers who were protesting police violence in San Francisco on the steps of the Mission Police Department with a hunger strike. And I walked up to them and introduce myself. And one of them was like, “Oh, you totally played on stage with me in Golden Gate Park. Do you remember, like five years ago, eight years ago?”,

Dr. Rupa Marya:
I was like, “Oh yeah.” So they knew me through the music scene. And that knowledge of what I was doing through music said, “You can come here and be our doctor. Come and help us in this struggle.” And from that was the invitation from California natives to go out to Standing Rock during the pipeline protest, because they saw that I understood these links between social oppression and racism and state violence and health, and long-term impact on community health.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And so, for me, what advice I give to the medical students of the Do No Harm Coalition, our organization of now over 2,000 healthcare workers committed-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
… to structural change to address health problems, is to not silo themselves in medicine, to allow themselves to be broad, to insist upon their artistry, and those things that bring them joy, vitality, and also to work directly taking orders from communities that they love, and to become a part of working with those folks.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And so, that has been beautiful. And as we’re putting up the greenhouse on the Ramaytush-Ohlone farm, every week, every Sunday, there’s a whole handful of medical students who come down who are learning how to use a wrench. And they’re like, “This is fascinating.” That it’s beautiful for them because they’re getting to see the connections directly. Like, what happens when land is rematriated? What happens when Greg Castro, one of two families who are Ramaytush-Ohlone because the genocide was so successful in the San Francisco peninsula, the first land holding in 250 years?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
What is it like for him to be back there, singing those songs?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s incredible.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
What is it like to plant those oak trees in the middle of these agricultural fields, because that was California natives’ food? What is it like to bring back the hazelnuts?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Exactly.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And so, I recommend that you look at the work of Martin Reinhardt. He up in Michigan, or is it Minnesota? He’s in Anishanabe territory, and he is a native scientist who did the decolonizing diet program. And he was looking at how following a decolonized diet… Some of it was actually gathering things from the reserves, some of it was going and shopping for buffalo meat as opposed to chicken, but he was able to get himself off of biological agents for inflammatory bowel disease. And he saw some real changes in blood pressure for indigenous people.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
So, there are exciting projects happening. This is a movement, it’s a growing movement, it’s an exciting movement, and we hope that this book can just uplift the good work that’s happening around the world.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s so powerful. You just reminded me of a story. While I was visiting my daughter in Utah, she was a park ranger-
PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [01:12:04]

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, you just reminded me of a story when I was visiting my daughter in Utah, where she was a park ranger in Arches National Park. We were canyoneering one day, and there was a few other people on the trip with us, and we rappelled down into this area where there’s this giant arch. It was kind of a little tricky rappel. But as we’re rappelling, there was like a flash flood. And so what was a completely dry thing became this waterfall, and we got stuck down there.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The other people got separated, and I was stuck with this guy who was a first nation man from Canada, who was a doctor. And we started chatting and he’s like, “My family is from this island off the coast of British Columbia. I kind of became westernized and went to medical school and started eating Western food. And I became diabetic and overweight and high blood pressure and I was feeling terrible, and then I sort of started to pay attention to what my grandfather was eating, my ancestry. And they were eating the fish and the berries and hunting and gathering. As I started to eat that way, everything went away. All my diseases, they went away.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There’s another incredible study from Australia where they looked at the aboriginals, this nutrition scientist years ago, it was in the eighties, I think. They found a number of aboriginals who had been urbanized and who ended up in the cities and had developed all the Western diseases. You know, overweight, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease. They still remembered how to hunt and gather. And she took them from their cities and just threw them back in the outback and said, “Okay, do what you used to do.” Within like six or 12 weeks, everything went away. All their diseases went away. So while it might take decades to get these diseases, often these problems can be reversed within weeks or months by dealing with the root cause of the inflammation.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I love the title of the book Inflamed because it speaks to not just the biological inflammation but the emotional inflammation, the political inflammation, the sort of inflamed nature of our divided society and the chaos that we’re seeing now. It addresses a lot of those issues in a way that are really fresh and new. And I think anybody listening to this who really wants to have a fresh perspective on how do we get out of our crazy situation we’re in now with burgeoning, chronic disease, this COVID epidemic that’s crippling the world, with the economic stresses on society… And we didn’t even touch on this, and I want to spend a few minutes touching on this, on the ecological, environmental, and climate impacts of our food system. You know, you should read this book because it sort of lays it all out, and I think it’s really an important contribution to our thinking. I hope every political leader in this country gets that book. I know a bunch of them, and I’m going to give it to them personally. I think it’s important.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Let’s pivot a little bit and talk about the environment and climate and the way in which our food system has disrupted our natural relationships with nature and has also led to massive ecological and environmental damage and climate change. It’s been said that climate change may be mostly the result of our food system. Up to a third to a half of all greenhouse gases can come, from some degree, to be drawn back to the food system.

Raj Patel:
Well, that’s exactly right. I mean, Mark, you’ve written about this so eloquently over the course of your writing, that the food industry is precisely in the business of turning rich, diverse bioecological zones into sort of green deserts, I think, is the best way of describing it. Where one thing is allowed to live, and any other intrusion from the web of life is annihilated chemically. Whether it’s weeds, whether it’s insects, whether it’s whatever else, that it must die, and that’s the way that monoculture proceeds. And as a result, we’re seeing catastrophic declines in insect populations and in biota across the web of life. I mean, I remember when I was a kid, I used to, reliably, when you’d go outside for a bike ride, come back with flies plastered on your teeth because the world was alive with them. And it’s been ages since I’ve experienced that in just a range of settings because the biosphere is so widely contaminated [crosstalk 01:16:07].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s such a huge statement you made. I remember, my job used to be washing the windows in the car. I was a gas station jockey, and you’d have to scrub your window with all the flies. [crosstalk 01:16:22]. It never occurred to me, but I realize, I don’t remember the last time I’ve done this. I don’t remember the last time I drove overnight or a long distance and had my window covered with bugs. Like, where have all the bugs gone?

Raj Patel:
That is not a good sign. That is one of the indicators of… There isn’t an industry behind that other than agriculture and the vast arsenal of pesticides, which are in our bodies right now, if we’d been anywhere near a field or anywhere near the food system. We carry a lot of these chemicals, which are, in some cases, what will last for generations in our bodies. Fat is one trace of industrial agriculture, but the clearing of forests to grow soy to be able to feed pigs or to be able to feed livestock that then become our burgers, there’s a vast amount that industrial agriculture does to the food system, and it is certainly one of the reasons why we’re seeing catastrophic weather events. But then there’s just the straightforward loss of our relationship with the natural world.

Raj Patel:
I mean, the other side of the term inflamed is that fire is healing. Inflammation is, as Rupert mentioned, a natural process of the body trying to restore homeostasis. In native and indigenous food systems, fire is part of a Sweden food system. I know that the term hunter-gatherer is one that people will have grown up with, but actually, a more precise term is Sweden because hunter gathering is one of these colonial terms to describe what the colonials saw. They didn’t see all the tending that was happening after you burned through and after you replant. And so, the idea of the Sweden agricultural system is something that is incredibly rich and knows how to live very well with biodiversity and is misidentified as being, oh, people walking around, picking up what they just saw, as opposed to being responsible for cultivating that stuff over generations.

Raj Patel:
So all of this is to say there are other ways of thinking about fire and about how to live with the things in the web of life. Industrial agriculture doesn’t just annihilate the locals for that happening, but the knowledge behind how it is that we might live in those locals more sustainably.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Incredible. How about your perspective on that, Rupa?

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Oh, everything that Raj just said. What he said.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
We’re working with, at our farm, this incredible, incredible woman, Sage LaPena, who’s the daughter of Frank LaPena, a California native scholar, and Sage was raised with all the traditional ecological knowledge keepers here in California. She’s Nomtipom Wintu, she’s Pomo, and she works as a plant medicine woman in one of the tribal health clinics in Sacramento. She’s coming out to the clinic, or to the farm. She and I, together, will be seeing patients together in a decolonizing medicine clinic in Aloni territory, so just south of Half Moon Bay. In two years, we’ll have that clinical work up and running. But when Sage, who also was working for the EPA and Watershed Restoration… So on this 38 acre farm, 22 acres are riparian woodland corridor, and there are alders and cottonwoods and the biggest nettle I’ve ever seen. I mean, towering at like nine feet high. Beautiful, huge nettle, which is an incredible anti-inflammatory food and medicine.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You don’t want to walk through it because it’ll prickle you.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
No, but we’re about to harvest the seeds this weekend. It will be really exciting. Really high in Omega-3s, really great for vitality-balancing hormones. And Sage, the first time she came and we were cutting a trail through this riparian corridor, there was so much medicine everywhere. There was elderberry, there were nettle. There was all these native California foods and the forest had been completely neglected. People, you know what we’re calling conservation, this is our conservation zone of the farm, is a place of great neglect. And in reality, when Portola landed at the mouth of the river that runs through the farm, all of his crew got sick. They were looking for Monterey, California, and they ended up finding San Francisco, but they were there at the mouth of the river for four or five days.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And it was the people who lived on that river who came and healed them with the food and the medicine from that watershed. And so I think that to imagine a food system that is an actual tending and relationship, as opposed to an extracting, is something that Western society has very little concept of because all of our economies are based on extraction. It’s not just the fossil fuel industry. Even organic industrial agriculture is an extractive phenomenon. And right next door to our farm, there’s an organic farm. It’s a beautiful farm, but it’s one of these ones where they are treating the soil as a substance on which food grows, as opposed to a living being that you have a relationship and a duty and a responsibility to. And that’s a very different framework.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
So what we’ll be doing on this farm is a blend of TEK, traditional ecological knowledge, mixed with agroecology from the West and experimenting with how do we create, bring the wild into the farm? How do we create these fingers of interface between where we’re cultivating foods and where we’re tending the wild? And what does that do for the health of the workers and the health of the foods we produce? So it’s a very exciting project for me to be a part of because I’m learning more than I ever had about farming and the food system and soil and also California native culture and how deeply why it is around health. And to realize that so many people, so many tribes, were pushed to… It was a genocide here. And so the re-imagining, reawakening of those relationships, contending with the trauma, and processing and composting that trauma, the crying, the grieving, the reawakening to our duties now.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
One of our elders, Greg Castro, said to me, he’s our farm elder, he’s Ramaytush Ohlone. He says, “You know, when we talk about giving land back, we’re not going to be like, “Okay, now we got the land back. You guys all have to leave.”” He’s like, “We need your help. We need you to help work with us and make this better because it’s been so deranged and we need to work together.” And how do we do that? We do that under their leadership. And for Greg, he’s like, “We don’t have our songs. We have 400 words left of our language.” So for us, that means supporting our indigenous people and giving them the resources and the protection they need to do that work, that re-imagining, that reconnecting, and that revitalization of their food systems and their cultural and knowledge ways.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, clearly from the Native American perspective in this country, we’ve botched it. First, it was the actual, physical genocide. Then there was the destruction of their food, the decimation of the Buffalo, like you said, the 60 million bison that were killed. Then there was the damning of rivers and disrupting of their ability to actually grow and tend their food the way they were. But then there’s the commodification of food that’s led to them to be so sick.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So we understand this in the native community very well, and we have disrupted their indigenous racial systems. But there are populations in America that have been brought here from elsewhere, such as African-Americans, who were ripped out of their traditional ways, although they did bring a lot of those. A lot of the foods in America were brought, braided in the hair of the slaves who came over when they brought their seeds with them to grow the food that now has become part of our culture. That’s a much bigger population, and the Hispanic population, much bigger population, and they’re suffering almost to the same degree, I would say, as the Native Americans. What do you see as a pathway for them to reclaim their food sovereignty? It’s quite different.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
It’s quite different, but it’s also quite the same because they are, again, the victims of colonial terror from the other side. The reason I was born in Ramaytush Ohlone territory is because $42 trillion was stolen from my country, and my parents couldn’t imagine a life without abject poverty unless they left. So when you say we bought [crosstalk 01:24:54].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So you’re basically a refugee from colonialism, essentially.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
All of us are. All of us diaspora, I mean, so many of us diaspora people, are. First of all, when you say we’ve botched Native American, like what’s happened with Native Americans, I’d say we are botching because Line 3 is still being built, and the Dakota Access Pipeline is still putting water through the drinking water of the [inaudible 01:25:16] in the Missouri River. So colonialism in the violence towards indigenous people is an active, daily experience that’s ongoing today. It’s not at complete, it’s not in the past tense. That means there is an opportunity to get involved and stop that violence. For all of us, especially healthcare workers. That we actually have a duty and an obligation to step up and stand up and stand in solidarity with those people putting their bodies on the frontline right now in front of Line 3.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
And so there’s that, but what’s been beautiful is seeing the partnerships that have happened between black and indigenous people around food sovereignty and the recognition and the generosity of indigenous people to understand the connections of colonial terror that other marginalized groups are suffering under the same system. So the work that Sage and I are doing in this clinic is to offer free medicine to the healthcare workers who are being exploited by the conventional farming operations on the San Mateo coast of California, and to offer it through a decolonizing perspective that will help them in a different way than maybe just going to the free clinic.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
So I think that the opportunities are to build transnational solidarity between all of us who’ve been impacted by colonialism. And that includes Europeans. Because where did the original colonial terrorist start? It started in the enclosure of the commons, the advent of private property in Europe. It started in the removal of women from their positions of authority around herbal medicine and medicine systems and the tending of the commons. It started through the same kind of severing of these critical relationships that maintained our health in order to advance a capitalist agenda. What I’m trying to say is, there’s room for everybody in this work. We all have different kinds of work to do, but we can all roll up our sleeves and get involved.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s so great. So as we sort of come to close, and I literally could talk to both of you for like a week, and I’m planning on hunting you down and finding you wherever you live and I’m going to come have dinner. I’m going to come to the farm. I’m just so thrilled to be able to meet both of you. But in the conclusion of your book, share with us your vision for the future and what are the steps that we need to take to reimagine our food system and the kind of inflamed world we live in at all levels.

Raj Patel:
I mean, I think part of the journey is the journey that you’ve pointed the way to, Mark, which is to recognize that food and medicine are coextensive and to decolonize is to reconnect. And the way that you reconnect is not to care about something, but to care with. We’re big on the idea of care, and so far, the limits of what appears to be caring, for example, in the food system, is to buy local and organic and shade-grown and dolphin-friendly and possibly tuna-friendly and whatever it is. But that’s not caring with. That’s just a kind of patrician worry about the little people or the small things, the other sort of individualist approach that severs the self from the rest of the community.

Raj Patel:
So caring with is, and the idea of a care revolution is one that you can see, not only in policies like People’s Green New Deal, or the Red, Black, and Green New Deal, which is also a really important intervention, linking indigenous and black communities of the United States around how it is we’re going to survive the climate emergency, but at their heart are ideas about how we need to repair our relationships. I mean, that involves reparations, but it also involves repairing our broken relationships with the planet. The idea there is an agroecological transformation. So not just what happens on the farm, but what happens to enable things to happen on the farm and on the plate and back again. These reverberating relationships from farm to fork and back again throughout society.

Raj Patel:
The upshot is precisely to the kinds of what all three of us are journeying towards: a world that is whole, that is healthy, where we have reconnected without one another through the pleasure of our plates in community. Again, not individually, but together. And if that means we get a few more insects stuck in our teeth on the way there and back, that’s a good sign.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s good when I’m biking, but it’s not good for the planet. How about you, Rupa? What do you see as the way forward to de-inflame our world?

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Yeah, I think it’s to center care. It is the care revolution, and it’s the care of the planet, the care of each other. And COVID is giving us an opportunity. And since we didn’t learn it last year, now we have the Delta variant, and I have a feeling we’re going to keep seeing this until we start actually caring. I see it as being a dismantling of colonial systems and a creating of different social norms and being a guest here on a stolen native land and really living as a guest with other communities of people from different nations who are guests on this stolen land, and honoring the indigenous people who are still here and taking care of their lands. It means stewarding. Like you were saying, being a steward and taking care. And I can see it. And I can see it, and I have seen moments and glimpses and spaces where this is occurring.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
What was most exciting for me about writing this book with Raj was the opportunity to share so many examples with other people so that they might see it, and they might venture out of what they think they know to these other places where these experiments are happening, these bold and beautiful experiments. So I feel very hopeful. I’ve never been afraid of hard work, and this is going to be hard work, but it’s not going to be harder than my last few shifts with COVID patients, so.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No, for sure. I’m just so thrilled that both of you are doing this work. It is helpful, and I’m going to buy your book for my daughter, who’s about to enter medical school cause I think she will love it. She goes down every Thanksgiving to a Black Mesa in the Navajo Reservation to just help them with basic stuff. And listening to her stories, it’s just heartbreaking. They don’t have heat for the winter. So if I hadn’t donated $5,000 for her to get a truck and get the wood and bring it to this old guy in his little hut, he would have frozen to death. It’s the difference between life and death there for them, and they’re so marginalized. And I think we see this in extreme examples in those communities, but it happens everywhere.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
All of us are disenfranchised, disconnected, and suffering from this soul sickness, and what you’re promising is a way to not just deal with social injustice, but to reclaim our souls as a species. And it just touches my heart. I’m so grateful for your work, and thank you for being guests on The Doctor’s Farmacy.

Dr. Rupa Marya:
Thank you, Mark. It was wonderful.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. And everybody, make sure you go out and get the book Inflamed. It’s a fabulous read, and it’s really one of the most important books of our time, calling things that really haven’t been called out in the way they have. So it’s Inflamed: Deep Medicine and the Anatomy of Injustice. Check it out. And if you love this podcast, share it with everybody because it’s important. And subscribe where you get your podcasts. Leave a comment. Where have you found a way to reclaim your food sovereignty, even as an individual? Share with us, we’d love to hear. And we’ll see you next week on The Doctor’s Farmacy.
Speaker 2:
Hi everyone. I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is for educational purposes only. This podcast is not a substitute for professional care by a doctor or other qualified medical professional. This podcast is provided on the understanding that it does not constitute medical or other professional advice or services. If you’re looking for help in your journey, seek out a qualified medical practitioner. If you’re looking for a functional medicine practitioner, you can visit ifm.org and search their find a practitioner database. It’s important that you have someone in your corner who’s trained, who’s a licensed health care practitioner, and can help you make changes, especially when it comes to your health.
PART 4 OF 4 ENDS [01:33:52]

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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