Who Is Really In Charge of Your Health?

Would you prefer your family’s food recommendations to be based on politics or science? My opinion is that the government has a hard enough time doing government well, so should they really be meddling in science? Hmmm….

Let’s start by taking a look at the role of the USDA, the regulatory agency that dominates nutrition in the U.S. They actually have 2 primary responsibilities, and herein lies the problem. First, is to ensure the success of food producers of America (ie. assure profits, subsidies, corporate grants, promote the farm belt). Second, is to protect the American consumer by providing dietary advice. How in the world can one agency have the best interest in mind for both the food industry and public health?

The answer is clear …. they can’t!

The bottom line is that Americans are increasingly overweight, unhappy and unhealthy. Obesity in America is up near 70%, and heart disease, diabetes, depression, stroke and even reproductive issues are on the rise at alarming rates.

Even as far back as 1917 when the USDA released their first dietary recommendations with the food group format, they ignored the evidence that Americans were eating too much fat and sugar simply because the food manufacturers wanted to encourage more eating! It wasn’t until the 1970’s that there was finally discussion about the clear correlation between overweight individuals and chronic disease. Of course, no surprise, the new dietary goals of 1977 brought with it huge opposition from the meat, sugar and dairy industries!

What really gets me is, that this battle is what continues to shape the public awareness around nutrition!  While there have been HUGE steps taken in the right direction from the first Food Guide Pyramid we saw in 1991 to the revised version of 2005 ( now called MyPyramid), we are a FAR cry from coming close to addressing the current health crisis we are facing.

I applaud the new pyramid for all the advancements, including the inclusion of beans, nuts and seeds as legitimate protein sources, the importance of exercise and even an attempt to customize recommendations on their website. All that being said, it is clear that much of what is recommended is political, not scientific!

For example, notice how they always add foods in rather than take foods out. Eat more lean meats, not less red meat. And what about the fact that the “milk” section is as large if not larger than the vegetable section. Does this mean we should consume the same amount of milk as we should vegetables? And why is milk not in the protein section anyway?

To say that milk is critical in our diets is nonsense, in my opinion. All we have to do is look to Asia, where they have very little dairy in their diets, yet have LESS osteoporosis than Americans and certainly are not dying younger! I’m not saying dairy should be avoided all together, but knowing that the number of people who suffer from adverse side effects related to dairy is significant, I’d say it warrants some consideration!

Also, I mentioned that the website attempts customization by offering 12 different pyramid options based on age, gender, activity level. “Attempts” being the operative word.  Upon closer investigation, you see that each of the options offers a VERY similar recommendation!

Where in this plan is there room for the reality that each person has a completely unique genetic and metabolic makeup? All we need to do is look to the fact that there are over 100 BEST-SELLER diets out there, all with their following of raving fans, to know that different food work for different people!

It is clear that Food pyramid has less to do with sound nutritional advice and more to do with appeasing food producers. Unfortunately, politicians with backgrounds in the agri-food industry continue to use their positions, at the FDA & USDA, to advance their industry interests. In the case of the USDA, it is often at the cost of small farmers, consumers and the environment.

And as if all of that were not enough to deal with, dealing with the medical community is just as bad. The message we’re getting from them is, “Hey America, live it up! When you get sick, we’ll give you a pill to make it all better, and if that one doesn’t work OR if it gives one of these really lovely sounding side effects, no worries, we’ll get you another pill! Should that happen to backfire, we are ready to perform whatever surgery may be necessary so you are as good as new!”

Clearly this crisis is rooted in our country putting a priority on a pro-business model rather than a pro-health model. We spend ridiculous amounts of money on medications, procedures and operations, while spending almost nothing on education, prevention and holistic health!

That is why I am committed to being an agent of change for the health and well-being in America and the world! I am currently enrolled as student through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the largest nutrition school in the world. I’ve had my eye on for years but never so much that I was willing to move to New York where the school is based. And then last fall they launched their distance learning program. Woo Hoo!

IIN teaches all the dietary theories from Eastern to Western, ancient to modern, traditional to innovative. The guest speakers are the nation’s leading health and wellness authorities and include authors, alternative practitioners and scientists. The combination of their unique disciplines, backgrounds, and viewpoints offers the students a diverse education that really sets IIN in a class of its own.

I truly believe in Integrative Nutrition’s mission ~ to play a crucial role in improving health and happiness in America, and through that process, create a ripple effect that transforms the world.

When I saw the Integrative Nutrition Pyramid, I knew this school was the perfect fit for me. The school teaches bio-individuality, taking in to account that one person’s food is another person’s poison. The emphasis is on the importance of high-quality vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats and water.

But the school goes so much further!

IIN addresses the fundamental concepts, issues and ethics of eating in a modern world, and bridges the gap between nutrition and personal growth by teaching a concept that IIN calls primary food. Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, fulfilling careers and a spiritual practice all nourish our souls and satisfy our hunger for living. The food we eat is Secondary.

The bottom line is that while the food we eat plays a critical role in our health and happiness, food can fill us, but it cannot fulfill us!

I look forward to supporting you in your journey towards truly vibrant health on all levels, and if you enjoyed this post, please RT and share on Facebook with your friends and followers!

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39 Responses to “Who Is Really In Charge of Your Health?”

  1. Beth,

    You’re killing me! LOL Not the food I eat. I appreciate the insight you have on this subject, but this is one area I struggle with. I do love my foods. I have learned that some foods are not as good as others for me. I will continue to read your post and look forward to further info. In time I’m sure I can learn to eat healthier!

    Your Friend
    .-= Bill Hartman´s last blog ..The Little Things =-.

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    bethallen Reply:

    Oh Bill, I love food too ~ I just think we need to get back to REAL food. 🙂 Then, bon appetit! 🙂

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  2. Gets confusing doesn’t it. When I was young a couple centuries ago. Less than 1 in 10 had weight problems. I simplify by blaming it on Technology. We walk everywhere. We ate and then ran outside to play. Television was only on for 4 or 5 hours a day. Unless you liked watching Test Patterns. Meat predominate meals were only a couple times a week. It was simpler and easier to maintain weight. While we are living longer today, we are not healthier. It is just the medicine and Doctors are better. I do enjoy your post because I learn from you. Thanks a bunch.

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    bethallen Reply:

    Yes, it does get confusing Nelson. I agree that technology plays a huge role in obesity….it’s right up there for sure. But the thing about processed, fake food is that it is actually CAUSING diseases. While TV may kill brain cells (and who wants that), I’m even more for handling this food crisis. We’ve gotta pick and choose our battles in life, this happens to be mine! 🙂

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  3. Beth,
    You bring out some very thought provoking points. As I reading your post here, I was reminded of a book I read a few years back. If I remember correctly, it was called “Medical Cures “they” don’t want you to know”. Basic concept in the book is all the government agencies are “in on the health crisis”. It was an interesting read.

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    bethallen Reply:

    Hmm, I’ve never read that book Krista ~ I’ll have to check it out. Thanks!

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  4. Beth – It is obvious that our nutritional guidelines are out of whack! However I think you would also have to take the TV and Internet away from a lot of people to make an even bigger difference:) Nobody goes outside to exercise and play any more.

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    bethallen Reply:

    I completely agree ~ take a look at the comments I left for Nelson regarding this! We certainly have a lot to work on!

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  5. Beth,
    Great info about looking at the pyramid of food. Totally not in sync with our diets or the nutritional values of the foods they recommend.

    I agree with Nelson that we have become less active & eat foods with little or no value or junk foods.

    Time to shift our way of eating & exercising!
    Val 🙂

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    bethallen Reply:

    Yes, time for a big shift ~ especially considering that the children of today are for the first time EVER not expected to live as long as their parents! scary.

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  6. It’s a conspiracy I tell ya! Who appoints these regulators anyway?

    I shop around the edges of the supermarkets, take a quick stroll down the cereal isle grab me some plain almond milk and out the door! It saves you a ton of waste on the barely nutritional processed packaged foodstuff.

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    bethallen Reply:

    Yes, it really is a conspiracy! Glad to hear you’re a savvy shopper Robin! 🙂

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  7. Hi Beth, Pretty scary isn’t it? Thanks for bringing these facts out in the open, it sure has increased my awareness. We all really need to be proactive about our food choices and getting more exercise. Thanks for the informative post!
    .-= Kara Grabenhorst´s last blog ..MUST See Tips For Blog Security =-.

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    bethallen Reply:

    It really is scary, yes Kara! So many people choose to turn a blind eye ~ which is unfortunate. Knowledge is power….we need more people stepping in to their power!

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  8. Aloha Beth,

    I love this article! Yes, I have posted those videos on all of our food sources and the challenges of getting any kind of nutritious food.

    As you know I have had such a huge challenge with weight my whole life until I finally got nutritional supplementation into my body. Totally solved my challenge with weight. Almost impossible today to get good nutrition from just food.

    Thank you for this very insightful article.

    Aloha,
    Kellie 🙂
    .-= Kellie Hosaka´s last blog ..What Is “Spiritual Awakening” & How Does It Relate To My Business? – pt. 2 =-.

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    bethallen Reply:

    It is very difficult to get all our nutrients from food, even with the very best efforts. I agree that supplementation is essential! Thanks for your support, Kellie!

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  9. This food issue is huge and complex. Even among the most nutritionally knowledgeable people (David Wolf just held a huge summit focused on the most healing foods in the world), but even among these people, bioindividuality is often ignored. And what about culture and tradition. One person in this summit talked about totally eliminating sugar. But ever cultuer has its desserts, and people have lived into their 100’s without a purely sugarless diet. There is so much to understand about food, digestion and the emotional components as well. You are in a great field of study. I commend your enthusiasm and passion.

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    bethallen Reply:

    Yes, it is a very complex issue. That is so cool that you attended that summit ~ I have no doubt it was extraordinary ~ I love David Wolfe! Yes, I agree that all in moderation ~ I’m not for eliminating sugar by any stretch of the imagination ~ just the fake, processed junk. Thanks for stopping by Dr. Erica, I appreciate your support.

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  10. Beth, you are right on target miss. I could not agree with you more. First off, America is financially motivated to make us consume as much food as possible. Then, like you said, when we get sick we take pills to “cure” the problem, which in the long run creates more problems with you health. And guess what, pharmaceuticals are motivated MORE by money than the food industry.

    I personally don’t take any form of medication and I can’t remember the last time I have. I guess what’s weird, I’ve NEVER been sick, EVER. (other that a common cold here and there)

    I don’t believe in coincidences. And I think its interesting that everyone who takes “medication” is always sick? Hmm, funny how that works huh?

    Speak soon,
    Matthew Neer

    PS. Another interesting fact, we are the only species on EARTH that drinks milk after weening…
    .-= Matthew Neer´s last blog ..Dude I Hate My Job Product Review Strategy =-.

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    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks Matthew. Wow, never sick…that’s impressive! I grew up sick a lot ~ taking lots of medication, until one day I was old enough to realize I’d had enough. I completely turned around my health on pretty much all levels, and found my body healing itself. Thus, my strong passions. 🙂

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  11. I love this Beth. You are right on the money. Food can not give us all we need anymore. Great post!
    .-= Beverly Monical´s last blog ..Interview With Ray Higdon- Financial Wellness Created With Numis =-.

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    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks Beverly, glad you like it!

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  12. Our attention to what goes in our mouths is more critical now than EVER! Whether its our own lack of attention to what we put in (and end up putting in stuff we shouldnt) or our inattention to putting in the good stuff, the burden of our health still lays mostly on us. That said, finding high vitamin foods today is nay on impossible and supplementation can help. However a lot of folks think supplements are a complete answer to bad diets and they need to rethink that. Thanks for all of these thought provoking posts. You remind us to take better care of us!
    .-= Kimberly Castleberry´s last blog ..Facebook Fan Pages vs Facebook Groups =-.

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    bethallen Reply:

    Great comments, thanks Kimberly. I think the biggest thing I want to help people realize is that health doesn’t have to be a burden! Yes it takes some education and willingness, but it really doesn’t! 🙂

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  13. Hi Beth,
    I could not agree with you more about food being a Big Business Model in this country. Have you read the book Food, Inc.? Powerful insight into what is REALLY going on.
    Most of what is made available to consumers these days is not food. It is chem-lab concoctions put in pretty boxes with cute characters on the outside. Just watch one episode of the Biggest Loser to get a clear insight into the struggle those 70% of overweight/obese Americans face each day with eating.
    What’s ironic to me is that being healthy has become a socio-economic issue, not a basic issue for all. Wealthy people in this country can afford to eat properly and supplement, while the poor are left with highly processed “foods” that do nothing but perpetuate their health problems. While not every poor person is obese and not every wealthy person is thin and healthy, there definitely is a noticeable difference between people with large bank accounts and small ones.
    Mary Lou
    .-= Mary Lou Kayser´s last blog ..If a Cruise Ship Showed Up in Your Driveway, Would You Climb Aboard or Pretend It Wasn’t There? =-.

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    bethallen Reply:

    You are right on with everything you said here, Mary Lou. It is a very complicated issue ~ but even at that, there ARE ways to eat cheaper and healthier ~ local farmers markets, having your own garden, co-ops……and even then it’s just plain complicated. To me, the worst part is people don’t try….they just turn a blind eye, and as Kimberly said, put the “burden” on someone else. So sad.

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  14. Hi Beth! I was excited to find this post, since you were explaining some of this to me earlier in the week. I have a long way to go with my health, but I suspect that with all of you health and wellness gurus around me, I will be getting on board soon! I’m already finding myself thinking about my choices more!

    Thanks for bringing us such interesting and potentially healing info!

    Mentor Mama

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    bethallen Reply:

    Glad to hear you are thinking about your health and more and more these days! In every moment, we get to choose, and even when we choose poorly in one moment, it does not mean we can’t choose differently in the next one! 🙂

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  15. Darcy Dunkley 29. May, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Thank you Beth. Just a great reminder that we must be conscious of what we put into our bodies! Thank you!

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    So glad you enjoyed it, thanks for stopping by Darcy!

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  16. The battle for proper nutritional information is definitely a grass roots movement, as the various food industries have their bottom line, not our health in mind. Glad to have you in the fight!

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    bethallen Reply:

    Grass roots indeed ~ it can feel like a forever uphill battle fighting those giants! But a mission so worthy, that I will continue uphill, making every little difference I can along the way. Glad to have you in the fight as well, Shannon! 🙂

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  17. Nutritional advice has been an issue for a lot of years now and i guess there’s really no one you can count on expect yourself. You really have to be mindful of the food you take and as much as possible live a healthy lifestyle.

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  18. Food is a very sensitive topic for some people. I love food but I am always sure to eat healthy. I have seen people die from food related diseases and it is so sad. It is like they brought it upon themselves by eating so much of the wrong things. It was very thoughtful of you to shed light on this topic.

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  19. The importance of nutrition as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle routine cannot be underestimated. Nutrition in its simplest terms is the scientific study of food and how our body uses this to provide nourishment, help us to grow, and provide much needed energy for day- to-day activities. Eating well and exercising regularly in today’s busy world is often overlooked and put at the bottom of the list of priorities. Employing good nutritional habits helps to reduce the chances of developing chronic disease.

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  20. I would like to share your one of the most beneficial information to busy people whom are working longtime on day. if you would eating well and exercising regularly in today’s busy world is often overlooked and put at the bottom of the list of priorities.

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    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks so much. Yes, eating well and exercise are often put at the bottom of people’s lists of priorities, and that is so determental to our long-term health and our current energy/ productivity, mood, etc. It needs to be at the top! Which is why I’m passionate about supporting people in getting there. 🙂

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  21. Hey Beth, as you stated the line “food can fill us, but it cannot fulfill us!” in your post that is 100% true. But I want to say also that for better health & fitness exercise is also important on regular base.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    I definitely agree, Sarah Anne! I’m actually a certified personal trainer. 😉

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