[Transcript] – The Book That’s Pissed Me Off The Most This Year (& How To Fix America’s Food System) – The Mark Hyman Podcast With Ben Greenfield.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/nutrition-podcasts/food-industry/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:00:49] Podcast Sponsors

[00:04:12] Book and Guest Introduction

[00:07:04] Writing the Book

[00:13:53] The True Cost of Food

[00:20:16] Food Stamp Programs Contributions

[00:28:48] Inconvenient and Invisible Truths Related to The Food Industry

[00:30:18] Podcast Sponsors

[00:34:13] The Monopoly of Seeds

[00:36:39] Difference Between Dirt and Soil, And the Dangers of Monocropping

[00:42:40] The Problem of Food Waste

[00:48:17] How the food industry influences food policy at the national level

[00:54:44] Proactively Contribute to A Solution to This Problem

[00:59:19] Mark's Personal Diet and Recommendations

[01:03:04] Closing the Podcast

[01:05:27] End of Podcast

Ben:  On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Mark:  If we really want to heal my patients in my office, that's impossible. I need to focus on the bigger picture, on their kitchen, their grocery store, their restaurants, the policies that drive all their food. If we actually put into the price of the food the true cost of food, good whole real food would be far cheaper and processed food and factory-farmed animals would be super expensive.

Ben:  A hundred and eighty-seven lobbies for every member of Congress.

Mark:  You look at all of them together, it's pretty frightening.

Ben:  Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.

Alright, folks. I had a chance to sit down with my friend Mark Hyman. He's doing a lot of cool things in the industry when it comes to fixing the way that we eat food in America, and his new book was absolutely amazing. I was thrilled to be able to chat with him about this. And speaking of books, if you have read my book “Boundless,” my new book “Boundless,” please, please, please leave a quick, brief, honest review. Get the book if you haven't yet at boundlessbook.com. But once you have it, go to Amazon, go to Barnes & Noble, go to Goodreads, wherever you can, and leave a review. It's the best thing you can do for my brand new book about how to have lasting energy at your beck and call all day long. So, wherever you got the book, go leave a review. And out of the bottom of my heart, thank you. As a matter of fact, thank you so much.

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Alright, folks. Well, I recently read a book that frankly, pardon the language, it pissed me off. This book upset me quite a bit, not because I disagreed with the content that was in it, but because it was kind of an expose on the big, big problem behind food, especially in America and how that food has really become to be one of the biggest contributors to not just the national, but the global epidemic of chronic disease. And what I found interesting about this book was, A, it had a lot in there that I was unaware of when it comes to food politics and how much what we eat is influenced by everything from lobbying to politics, to seed monopolies, to a whole lot of other pretty inconvenient, and even as my podcast guest alludes to in the book, invisible truths that we're walking around completely unaware of.

But what I also appreciate about this book was it gives actionable steps that you can take to fix some of these issues in your own community and in your own life. The guy who wrote the book is a wonderful functional medicine doc who has now turned into almost kind of like a Mr. Smith goes to Washington kind of guy in terms of affecting political change in addition to health change. And his name is Dr. Mark Hyman. You're probably familiar with him because he's a very well-known functional medicine doc and New York Times bestselling author of multiple books. He is the director of the UltraWellness Center in New York City. I had a chance to actually drop in and visit with him briefly for his podcast actually the last time I was in the Big Apple.

And today, he's on my show. Today, I am in the driver's seat, Mark. How's that feel?

Mark:  That's amazing because I don't have to do as much work.

Ben:  Arguably, although sometimes it can be easy to be the interviewer too because all you have to do is ask one question then sit back and let someone talk, assuming they're a good guest and they can do so.

Mark:  Absolutely.

Ben:  Yeah. Alright. So, that's going to be today's podcast. I'm going to ask you one question then I'm going to walk away and go have a couple of beers and come back and see if you're–

Mark:  Okay. That sounds good. I can go for an hour. No problem.

Ben:  Yes. Alright, awesome. Non-GMO kombucha beer, apparently. Alright. So, this book is called “Food Fix.” I even say the title of the book, I don't think. That's called “Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet-One Bite at a Time.” Now, Mark, you're a physician, you're caring for patients, you're running your UltraWellness Center. I'm curious if there is some kind of a trigger that caused you to want to write this particular book, which in my opinion is almost like I alluded to as much of a political book as a medical book.

Mark:  It's true. It's something that has been brewing for a long time. It takes me back to my activist days back in college dealing with the nuclear crisis as part of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, and also focus on–I'm really just trying to deal with social justice issues. And then began to sort of see patients over and over my office with the same types of problems that were caused by food, or mostly caused by food. I realized that if I need to think about their diseases, I have to include the bigger picture of what they're eating and why they're eating what they're eating. It just struck me that if I figure out the why, then I can help my patients. And as I began to go down that rabbit hole, it was clear to me that our food system is the biggest driver of the food they're eating, which is poor quality ultra-processed food that is 60% of the diet of Americans, which kills 11 million people a year. I think that's an underestimate globally.

So, I'm like, “Wait a minute. Well, if we have a food system that's doing this, why do we have the food system we have?” Well, it's because of our food policies, which are actually promoting a form of agriculture and food and allowing food policies and practices that actually make America sick and fat and destroy the environment and climates. I'm like, “Well, why do we have those policies?” And it became clear that it was the food industry. Most people don't know this, but the biggest lobby groups in Washington by far by a factor of probably four or fivefold are the food and egg industries.

Ben:  You said the food and egg industries?

Mark:  Yeah, food and egg industries.

Ben:  And just for people who may–because those terms get thrown around, like food industry, egg industry. Are these specific organizations, like do they have actual names?

Mark:  Well, yes, they do have names, and I talked about them in my book. And there are about a couple of dozen companies that control all the big aspects of our food system, the big food producers, things like Nestle and Pepsi knows. Then there's the fast food companies, there's the seed companies, the agrochemical companies, fertilizer companies. That's the food industry, and it's a $15 trillion industry that's about 17% of the world's economic production a year, and it's probably the biggest employer globally. In fact, the United States, it employs 20 million workers, which is more than any company–sorry, government.

So, it's a big, big monster that is run by a few dozen people that had been consolidated to monopolies over the last few decades, and it's really driving a lot of destruction of human health, destruction of our children's futures by destroying their intellectual capital because they can't focus or think or learn and they do poorly, and their brains are affected, and their IQs are lower. I mean, kids who eat ultra-processed food have a 10% smaller brain and seven points lower IQ.

Ben:  Really? That's been shown?

Mark:  Yes.

Ben:  I had no clue.

Mark:  And then behavior issue. I mean, it just goes on and on, behavior issues, [00:10:26] ______ issues. So, it really is clear to me that we have to solve this problem. And then it begins to connect the dots with the environment and climate, like what does climate change have to do with what we eat? Well, it turns out the way we grow food in our food system as a whole is the biggest cause of climate change by 50% compared to fossil fuels, which is about a third. So, that's a shock to me and I began to go, “Well, if we really want to heal my patients in my office, that's impossible. I can't do it. I need to focus on the bigger picture, on their kitchen, their grocery store, their restaurants, the policies that drive all that food.” And that's really why I began to sort of drive more and more into this. But even eight years ago, I wrote a book called “The Blood Sugar Solution.” I had a whole chapter on the toxic triad, big food, big farm, and big ag driving so many of these issues. In the last couple of years, there's an increased awareness of how these things are all connected and how we have to solve them holistically, like sort of functional medicine, it's a systems problem.

Ben:  That's interesting. What you said about the ultra-processed food and children's cognitive function, is this an actual systematic review that was done? Was it like an observational study or how exactly did they look at that?

Mark:  It was looking at kids whose diets were poor compared to kids whose diets were [00:11:48] ______ looking at brain imaging and IQ testing. But there have been randomized trials that actually look at behavior, and actually, it was striking to me because I always sort of knew that, “Oh, yeah. Well, if kids are eating junk, that's probably not good for them and maybe whatever.” But what we actually know is it's a huge driver of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety. It's actually driving ADHD. There was a review by the CDC team that was called Health and Academic Achievement, and it documents the clear link between poor nutrition and kid's academic performance, including things like lower test scores, lower grades, poor cognitive function with less alertness, less attention, poor memory, less processing of visual information, worse problem solving, and increased absenteeism.

And I went to a school in Cleveland that was in a very underserved area, mostly African American Hispanic school, and the superintendent of their school, the head of the school was brought in to save the school because they've got an F grade for 10 years in a row, which is terrible. One percent of those kids, one percent are eligible to go to college when they graduate, and 40% of them are absent most of the time.

Ben:  Wow.

Mark:  And when I walked down the hall, there was this very overweight young Hispanic girl, who had–it was double-fisting. She had one 32-ounce slushie in one hand and one 32-ounce soda in the other, and I was like, “This is a nightmare, and this is what we're doing to our children on their future.” So, I really begin to understand that in order to be a doctor and do my job, I had to think bigger, and I had to look at the whole food system, and I had to address these issues holistically, and we had to drive the grassroots effort and a policy effort to try to change these things.

Ben:  Yeah. And I feel like right now, we're probably, to a certain extent, kind of preaching to the choir, right, like my listeners know that ultra-processed food is probably not that great for the human body. They're aware that there is a link between what we put into our mouths and chronic disease, but I want to delve into some of the things I learned in your book that I wasn't aware of. For example, the actual cost of food, the actual true cost of food. I think you used corn as an example, and maybe that would be the best illustrative example for you to give, but you say the true cost of food is not on the actual price tag of the food that we buy. I'm curious if you could get into that, maybe using some examples for people of what the true cost of food really is.

Mark:  Absolutely. When we go to buy something at the grocery store or at a restaurant, the price we pay is not the true cost to that food because we have to take into account the entire lifecycle of that food and all the costs that are incurred in producing it, eating it, and often wasting it. Let's just take beef because people talk a lot about beef and climate and so forth. But if you look at the way we grow beef in factory-farmed animals, we grow massive monocrops of soy and corn. They're fed of mostly corn. We use herbicides, we use pesticides, we use fertilizer intensively. We deforest rainforests in Brazil. I mean, in order to grow our beef, we are creating massive environmental destruction.

Who's paying for the climate change cost? Who's paying for the depletion of our freshwater uses? Who's paying for the damage to soil from the chemicals and the fertilizers that actually destroys the soil carbon leading to more climate change? I mean, there's 30% to 40% of our entire carbon in the atmosphere, which the total is about a trillion tons. A third of that comes from the destruction of soil organic matter from the way we farm. So, just growing the food to feed the animals caused all this harm. Of course, the pesticides–

Ben:  Yeah. And is that primarily, when you say, “The way we farm,” is that because of monocropping and poor soil turnover or a combination of factors?

Mark:  Yeah. So, the methods that we use for industrial farming are large-scale monocrop farms with extensive tilling of the soil that turns up the soil–it kills the soil. So, you're literally running a knife through the soil and turning it over, and all the life that's in the soil dies, and then it erodes, and we lose the topsoil on top of that. I mean, what is the price of topsoil? We have no topsoil in 60 years according to the UN. That means no food for humans, right? That's a serious problem. Who's paying for that? And then there's a harm to human health from pesticides. I mean, kids are exposed to pesticides, have lost 41 million IQ points in this cohort that was looked at from kids who are exposed around farms and so forth.

What is the price of that intellectual capital? What is the price we pay for when people eat the food then and have processed food, the obesity and chronic disease it results, who's paying for that? We are, right? If we grow corn for our processed foods, the government is paying for that, one, to grow it through subsidies, two, we're paying for the environmental cost and damage, three, we're paying for that food to be given to the poor through food stamps, which is about 75% of the food stamp, which is about $75 billion a year is for buying processed food and about 10% of that or 7 billion is used to buy soda.

So, in terms of who's paying for the cost of them consuming that food, we are through Medicaid and Medicare. So, we're literally paying for the environmental cost, we're paying for the cost on the subsidies, for our tax dollar, we're paying for giving it free to the poor, we're paying for the Medicare, Medicaid bill. So, we're paying four times as taxpayers for this, but the companies who create the damage aren't paying for it, right? If General Electric dumps PCBs into the Hudson River as part of their business operations, they're not paying for the harm that that's causing the environment. They were held to account through lawsuits and actually had to pay over a billion dollars to clean up the Hudson River because of the consequences of their behavior. But the food industry is not being held to account for all these consequences, which some people call externalities just like people call things they don't like with drug side effects. They're not side effects, they're effects that we don't like, right?

Ben:  Yeah.

Mark:  But nobody's paying for those and that's enormous cost. So, maybe if we actually look at a regenerative farm which grows grass-finished, grass-fed beef in a way that restores the ecosystem, puts back soil organic matter, doesn't use as much water, doesn't use those chemicals, doesn't lead to all the consequences and destruction, increases biodiversity, restores pollinator habitats, restores animal ecosystems. Maybe that should be a $3 steak and a feedlot beef should be $100 steak, right, except the opposite is true now. And I think there are companies that are incentivizing farmers to do this. It's called payment for ecosystem services. So, they actually put value back in the land.

There's a company called Farmland LP that's I think an investment company that buys up conventional farms, converts them to regenerative farms. Their profits go from single-digit profits to 60% to 70% profits and returns, and they add benefit to the environment in their farms that they bought of $21 million compared to the same farms that previously removed $8 million of environmental benefit, the basic cost. So, if we actually put into the price of the food the true cost of food, good whole real food would be far cheaper and processed food and factory-farmed animals would be super expensive.

Ben:  Yeah. And one thing you get into, like you talked about beef in the book and all of these issues in terms of declining property values surrounding these CAFO food lots because nobody wants to live near a stinky polluted hog chicken or beef operation to the cleanup of manure and the asthma and other issues that causes from the aerosol toxins that gets breathed in during that. You talked about pesticide poisoning and how that costs over $1 billion a year in addition to the death of birds and the death of a lot of these insect pollinators like bees and butterflies. And then you've got the antibiotic cost, which can get and kill another–I think it's close to a million people a year from antibiotic resistance. But then you also bring up the actual employees, like the fast-food employees and you tie food stamps into the actual cost of food. I felt kind of dumb reading your book because I didn't know what SNAP meant. It wasn't that familiar with how food stamps work, but can you describe how food stamps could actually be contributing to this issue and where you see the biggest issues with SNAP and what exactly SNAP is?

Mark:  Yeah, sure. Well, there are two things you brought out there. One was in this country, again, and this is another cost of the food, we don't account for the fact that food and farm workers are paid almost nothing, which means they can't make a livable wage, which means they can't afford health care and they need food stamps. So, the very people who are producing our food or helping us serving our food can't make a living wage, and the government spends about $150-something billion in services for the poor who are working in our food system because they can't pay for things themselves. This is terrible. And then, of course, we pay about $16 billion in tips because the restaurant don't pay them any money. And so the whole tipping culture was a holdover from slavery and from how African Americans who were often in those positions were not paid anything and only had to survive on tip. So, the average restaurant worker makes $2 an hour, and then they depend on tips.

Ben:  And so, the food stamp program, from what I understand, it essentially provides money to people this–what SNAP stand for again, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance?

Mark:  Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. So, this is a great program that used to help the poor deal with food and security and hunger. Super important. And it worked, it was great. It provided that safety net that was needed for the poor so there wouldn't be the massive amounts of hunger that we saw in America. However, unlike other government food programs like the school lunches and dietary guidelines and so forth, there are women and children's food programs, there were no nutrition standards put in, which means that you get your food stamp allotment, your 100 bucks a week or whatever it is, 40 bucks a week, and you can buy pretty much anything you want except cooked food or alcohol or cigarettes.

There's no requirements for it has to be health-promoting, it can't be health-damaging. And so it's led to the fact that 75% of the “food” purchased by food stamp recipients is high-calorie, low-nutrient processed foods that those who eat it are sicker and fatter and die younger than those who don't eat it. And while it's helped with food and security, it hasn't helped with health, it hasn't helped with the incredible crippling chronic disease burden that affects actually six out of ten Americans today, and we're suffering the consequences of that and every family is touched by it. And so we have to think about how do we improve this SNAP, which is one large government programs. It's $750 billion over 10 years and it's part of the farm bill, which should be called the food bill. And 7 billion a year or 31 billion servings are used to buy soda for the poor, which doesn't make any sense, right?

So, it means to be completely reformed in a way that allows us to put nutrition guidelines back in and create incentives for people to buy good stuff. So, when they've done experiments where they give and say, “Well, if you buy more fruits and vegetables, we'll give you a 30% benefit.” In other words, you'll get $1.30 to spend if you buy fruits and vegetables. However, if you buy junk food, you only get 70 cents on every dollar to spend. So, you get a disincentive. And those things have shown dramatic improvements in the health of the people using it, and also the decrease in the actual purchase of the bad food.

I mean, there's no reason we should be giving sugary drinks, although the food industry certainly doesn't to remove that. We should go and have those incentives for purchasing fruits and vegetables. We should try pilot programs and help people use SNAP for better food choices. And the only thing is there were good things happening there. There's like the double bucks program. For example, for farmers' markets if you use your food stamps instead of 100 bucks, you get 200 bucks to buy fruits and vegetables. So, there's all sorts of great things happening, and I think it's pretty exciting.

Ben:  So, when it comes to the SNAP program, I think what you said about the incentives is really important because I was actually just going through a book on health insurance policies. It was about the somewhat broken American health insurance setup and it discussed how much more meaningful and effective incentives are for people who are trying to get lower insurance premiums through healthy lifestyle activities. And this idea of doing that instead of penalizing unhealthy behaviors is far more effective, this idea of incentivizing the healthy behavior. So, this is a good point, and the whole the whole SNAP program —

Mark:  [00:25:32] ______, right?

Ben:  Right, right, exactly. So, the whole SNAP program, is that something that's being actively looked at and changed right now like other people are actually working on fixing away the food stamps or working in America?

Mark:  Absolutely. There's an incredible group called the Bipartisan Policy Center, which has put out a whole report about how we can leverage SNAP to improve American's health, and that is a whole series of policy strategies that I sort of just laid out that they put together in there. You've got the two former agricultural secretaries, Republican and Democrat, you've got two former Senate majority leaders, Democrat and Republican who are getting behind these issues because they understand regardless of your political party, these are imperatives for us for our health, for preserving our human capital, national capital, intellectual capital, economic capital. We're screwed if we don't fix this.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, you brought up soda as one thing that these food stamps are primarily being used to consume, but what I think you may have underemphasized and what I'd love to hear you highlight is that if we actually look at the cost of the can of soda, we can take into account the healthcare costs of obesity and chronic disease from excess fructose consumption combined with a hypercaloric state, which we already know is an issue. You mentioned environmental consequences when you're talking about beef, but the same kind of modern chemical intensive till farming and the loss of topsoil is also caused by the monocropping of corn. And then there's the subsidized corn aspects we pay. I think it's like, what, $250 million a year to subsidize corn that a lot of it is used to make high-fructose corn syrup. But then the other thing is that Coca-Cola is technically a welfare recipient based on the way that things are set up with the SNAP program, and you highlight that in the book. How exactly are these big companies like Powerade or Vitaminwater or Coca-Cola or Pepsi actually profiting from something like a food stamp program?

Mark:  For sure. So, there's a lot of opposition to changing the SNAP program and putting any limits on these kinds of purchases. And what's sort of striking is that even the hunger groups are behind this. You look at the Food Action Network and other groups that are really about solving hunger in America, they're opposed to any change of SNAP. And part of the reason why is that they're heavily funded by the food industry. So, these guys are super smart in manipulating things. And the ways in which they're benefiting is really clear. In fact, Coca-Cola, about 20% of the American revenue estimated is from food stamps. Walmart, which has good and bad in it obviously, but of the 735 or $50 billion of food stamp money, about 130-something billion goes directly to Walmart. So, they have a lot to lose. And I think it basically makes Coca-Cola probably America's biggest welfare recipient.

Ben:  It's nuts, it's nuts.

Mark:  Yeah.

Ben:  Okay. So, that was obviously one of the inconvenient truths that you discussed in the book. But you also talked about something that you call–or you bring up the inconvenient truth, but then you also bring up the invisible truth when you talked about the tale of two foods. What's the inconvenient truth and then what's the invisible truth?

Mark:  The inconvenient truth is that our food system is driving most of the crises that are–and the invisible truth is the same where it's driving most of the crises that we see in the world today, right, chronic disease, the economic burden or $22 trillion federal debt. And Medicare, for example, and the trust fund will be out of money by 2026. About 50% of our federal budget will be required to pay for Medicare by 2025. We're not talking decades out here, we're talking five years. And we're seeing the climate impacts, the environmental impacts, the social impacts, the academic impacts, even national security impacts because kids who would try to join the military are too overweight or unfit to fight. Seventy percent get rejected.

So, these are all the truths that nobody is connecting. These are invisible and they think they're all siloed problems. Let's deal with kids learning, let's deal with national security, let's deal with the economy, let's deal with health. I mean, they're one problem. They were all connected. And of course, there are many causes of all of them, but a large part of it is our food system and fixing that can have a dramatic impact on fixing all of it.

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Now, what about the seeds themselves? I feel like that's a big part of your book is how we're actually distributing seeds for food growth. Can you go into what you call the monopoly of seeds?

Mark:  Yeah. So, the problem with agriculture is that we used to grow so many hundreds of varieties of foods. And increasingly, there's been monopolization and cannibalization of all the seed companies in the world. So, there's now just like a few, probably four to six seed companies that control 60% of the seeds, and it's usually GMO seeds, it's usually seeds that are hybridized seeds that aren't necessarily nutritionally dense. So, the food quality we get is far less, and it also drives huge problems for the farmers because they get stuck in the cycle of having to use these seeds by them because historically, farmers kept their seeds, and then they replanted their seeds, and then there's an internal cycle. They didn't need inputs from the outside. They had their farm animals, they had their seeds they kept, and there wasn't pesticides and herbicides. So, it was a closed ecosystem.

Whereas now they have to get off from the outside. That makes them indebted to the big ag companies who provide the seeds, which entice them into pesticides and fertilizers and herbicides, and having to buy these seeds, which ultimately are not providing really nutrient-dense whole foods. And then in the worst cases, for example, in India where they convert over to this industrial process, they can't afford to buy the seeds, they can't afford to buy the fertilizer, they can't afford to turn the farms back and they go bankrupt. And the suicide rates in India are extraordinary in farmers because of the pressures that they're being squeezed by the big food companies and their livelihood is being threatened.

Ben:  It's crazy how we can actually have, what, like five big companies that control most of what we're using to grow food. Is it what buyers want I know?

Mark:  Bayer-Monsanto, Syngenta, ChemChina, BASF, Corteva, these are the big companies that are behind this. And what's interesting, there used to be hundreds of seed companies like 40 years ago, and now there's like a handful, right? So, that's not a good thing.

Ben:  Now, the way that these seeds, once they get into the farmers' hands, are grown is another issue. And you've already alluded to this idea of monocropping and only parts of these crops are grown for feedlot animals. I think the bigger issue is the huge amount of corn and wheat, et cetera, that's being grown. But can you get into–you've alluded to it a little bit, but I still think people don't quite understand the difference between dirt and soil, dirt versus soil, and how monocropping contributes to a big issue here.

Mark:  Yeah. So, I think again, these are not things that we really understood in depth until fairly recently, but soil, dirt, whatever, you just throw the plant in there, you throw some stuff on it and some nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, fertilizer, little pesticides, herbicides, you get your plants, everything seems great. It turns out that soil is a living organism. In a thimble full of soil, there's more microbial life than there were humans ever on the planet, okay? It's a rich live organic entity that is required to do a number of things. One, if you have organic matter in the soil, live soil versus dirt, which is just dead, right, it's just more like dust where there's very little organic matter, it cannot hold water, it cannot store carbon very well, and it's essentially something you need to put tons of inputs in to actually grow food. Whereas soil is alive and it's full of microbes and mycorrhizal fungi, and nematodes, and worms, and all kind of stuff that is required to do a number of key functions that we need on a farm and we need for the planet.

One, when you have organic matter soil and you grow plants on it, it puts more carbon in the soil. So, 30% to 40% of all the carbon in the atmosphere, like I said, a trillion tons comes from the loss of soil organic matter and erosion of the soil from tillage. So, when you put that back, uses ancient carbon capture technology called photosynthesis has been around for billions of years, it's free, that literally can suck out carbon from the atmosphere through the plants, put in the soil, and actually store this excess carbon that's in the atmosphere and save us from climate disaster. It also can hold water. So, every 1% organic matter can hold 20 to 30,000 gallons of water, which means you're resistant to droughts, and floods, and climate, and weather instabilities.

And in the biodiversity, this allows the plants to take up more nutrients. We don't think about this, but even if you're eating like a vegan healthy whole foods diet, if the soil is depleted, you're still getting 50% less nutrients than you did 50 years ago in your plants because of the quality of the soil that's required to extract the nutrients from the soil into the plant. So, there's a lot that the soil does. It's sort of invisible to most of us, but I think it's probably the most important overlooked invisible thing that we have to pay attention to because it is also the solution to [00:39:42] ______ what's wrong because if we grow regenerative food, we grow better whole foods, the farmers make more money and restores the biodiversity in the environment, the ecosystem, and it actually draws down climate and saves us from climate disaster.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. It's interesting because those are the three plants I'm aware of, rice, wheat, and corn, that's like 60% of the world's calories. And we're pretty much destroying these more complex perennial ecosystems as we're cutting down forests and plowing prairies to create all these monocropped poor soil dirt rich type of growing scenarios. It's interesting. I was actually earlier this week–I don't know if you heard about this, but there's a couple of food pioneers, farmers who are actually looking into tapping into nut-producing trees and shrubs as some of our staple crops. They discovered that basically, the biome with the widest distribution in North America is the savanna, which is this grassy area that's covered with shrubs and trees, and this thing's just chockfull of oaks and chestnuts and beaches and all these different berry-producing plants, and grapes, and fungi, and mushrooms.

And so one proposal that these guys are making is that we begin to rely more upon trees and shrubs as opposed to cutting them down for all these monocropping type of scenarios, and do things like acorns, and acorn flower, and oaks, and nuts that could be stored literally for like a decade and can produce something like 6,000 pounds of food per acre. And that was a new concept for me, this idea of relying upon not just regenerative agriculture, but also trees and shrubs and this savanna scenario.

Mark:  Right. Well, trees are part of regenerative agriculture. It's called agroforestry. It's a whole part of a solution. So, there's lots of solutions. It's not just grass-fed cows, but like silvopasture where you raise animals in forests like chickens and hazelnut orchards, where they eat all the hazelnuts that fall off and then they fertilize the ground, they make a whole more water or they need this irrigation, the hazelnuts win. The farmers make more money, the chickens are healthier, we're healthier. It's like a wonderful, beautiful, virtuous cycle. In Spain, they've done that for centuries with the pata negra pigs who live in oak forests and they eat all the acorns, and then it produces meat that's actually very anti-inflammatory and has very good fat profiles that aren't like regular pork.

Ben:  It's some good meat. I hunt some wild pig down in Hawaii, but I ate at a place called, the last time I was in Asheville, North Carolina, this place called Cúrate where the pigs are just all fed on these wonderful acorns and the meat is just absolutely through the roof. Yeah. This idea of using trees and shrubs, I find that pretty appealing. And then another thing that you get into in the book–this was near and dear to my heart because I'm one of those guys who when the family is done eating dinner, I go over to the kids' bowls and the kids' plates and I'm just kind of like the garbage disposal. I finish off everybody's food because it just breaks my heart if I see food getting tossed in the trash or shoved into the garbage disposal, the actual garbage disposal, not the Ben garbage disposal. And you get into food waste in the book and how big a problem food waste is. How big of a problem is it?

Mark:  A big, big, big, big. So, we waste 40% of our food. Imagine going to the grocery store, bringing home bags of groceries and then throwing away 40% in the garbage. It's basically what we do. In America, it's about $800 every year we throw away for family for. And globally, it's a massive problem. We throw in a food every year that would be–we require the entire landmass of China to grow that food at a cost of $2.6 trillion of loss, and we're seeing people who have lack. There's 800 million people who go to bed hungry and there's, of course, more than 2.3 billion who go to bed overweight. But we're having this inequity in distribution of calories and food, and a lot of us do with food waste, and it's also not only contributing to just this horrible human crisis of hunger and maldistribution of resources, but it's actually causing climate change.

In fact, if food wastes were a country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the U.S. and China. And why is that? Because when you throw your vegetables out and you stick them in the garbage, they go to a landfill and they rot and they off gas methane, and that methane causes climate change. It's 25 times more potent in greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. So, a simple thing everybody can do–because people feel powerless. What can I do? A simple thing everybody can do is start a compost pile. Whether you live in the city or country, you can do it. In the city, in an apartment, you can get a little canister that you put your food scraps in that automatically compost it. You can bring it in the farmers' market and give it away to the farmers. They'll love it.

Or if you live in the country, like I've done for years, I basically have a compost bucket in my sink. I fill that up with all the food scraps. I basically put some 2x4s, constructed a really rudimentary box and I just throw the food scraps in there, and it's unbelievable. I've done it for 20 years and I've got like this huge pile of incredible black rich fertilizer. In some cities, they're actually mandatory now. In San Francisco, there's mandatory composting. In Europe, you can't–actually, in France, you can't throw out the food from any kind of commercial operation. It has to go to either feed animals with food scraps, it has to go to a compost pile, it has to go to food banks. So, you just can't throw it out or you get fined or go to jail. And in Massachusetts where I have a house, there's a local law that got established in the state, which prohibits anybody from throwing out a ton or more food waste a week.

So, if you're a Whole Foods or you're a grocery chain and you got all this food waste, you're not allowed to throw it in the garbage anymore. You can't put it in the dumpster. You put in the food waste, they get three tractor-trailers every day from Whole Foods, like 100 tons of waste. They put it in the digester, they add some cow manure from their dairy cows, and it turns into energy and it fuels 1,500 homes. The farmers make 100 grand, it produces free electricity, [00:46:08] ______ the methane from the poop and the food waste, everybody wins. There's all kinds of great solutions like that.

So, it is a big, big problem, but it's a lot of [00:46:17] ______ working on. Even in the Trump administration, the EPA, FDA, and the USDA came together and said, “We're going to solve food waste.” And nobody's for food waste. People can be against stopping food stamps and soda or against ending food marketing or better dietary guy, but nobody's like, “Yeah, we should throw away more food.” That's a good thing, right? So, it's a total bipartisan issue and that's pretty exciting.

Ben:  Yeah. Are you familiar with, you probably are because you're back there in New York City, with Dan Barber, who runs Stone Barns out there?

Mark:  Oh, yeah, of course. Yes, of course.

Ben:  He's got that new–I think it's called WastED, his pop-up where they're doing things like ugly vegetables and serving like kale ribs and beef tallow and vegetable pulp, and all these wastes that would normally just get tossed out and contribute to the issues that you just talked about. This too is basically serving up like bruised food and old food to people, not old food, but parts of the animals and the vegetables that would normally just get tossed. This Dan Barber guy is doing some good work.

Mark:  It's great. Yeah. I actually went to one of his dinners where he basically made the entire gourmet meal from like the ends of celeries, and the mushroom stems, and the peels of carrots, and things that we would throw out. It was amazing.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. There's also a book, I bought it for my kids because they have a little food podcast and they're actually going to be doing a podcast on how to use the parts that we would normally throw out, but it's really good. The book's relatively new. It's called “Waste Not,” and there's recipes from all these top chefs around the country for things like asparagus bottom aioli from the bottoms of the asparagus we usually throw out, or squash seed tahini from the seeds of a squash that you might cook. He's got a bunch of recipes in there for just taking skins of fruit that you'd normally peel and throw out and how to dehydrate those and turn them into rubs for fish. And for me, it's a great, great book, but yeah. I mean, just thinking outside the box like that can be tremendous for the food waste picture.

Now, lobbying, lobbying is a big issue here. I found this pretty concerning in the book, how big food and big egg actually control food policy. And I realized that this might be a little bit of a can of worms to open up, but I would love for you to get into how exactly it works when big food and big ag controlling food policy, like how they can actually do that.

Mark:  Well, I just had lunch with a guy named Sam Kass, who was in the Obama administration helping Michelle Obama with her initiatives around food, including school lunches and various things. And what he said to me was really striking. He said, we were sitting there, and normally, the way things work in Washington is the lobbyist will show up at the senator, congressman in the White House with like a giant book full of 50 policy solutions, all the regulations they need to get changed, what to do in what order, how to think about it, what the background research is, and provide them a whole roadmap of how to do what they want them to do, right, whether it's the oil industry or the food industry.

He said, “There was not a single group that came to the White House that had any organization behind them with any kind of concept of what policies need to be changed, or what need to be fixed, or how to do it because policymakers and presidents and their teams and agencies are just deluged with so much to do. They're trying to run the country and they needed help and guidance, and they're only getting it from the lobbyists.” Well, there's a few examples of how this works. Someone told me a great story that was kind of funny. There was a hearing on the Dietary Guidelines recently and there was a woman who got up to speak in front of the congressional hearing. And she said, “We're really having a problem with overuse of antibiotics in this country, and with antibiotic-resistant bugs, and with factory farming and so forth, and we really need to create a solution for this. And the thing is cranberries are such a great antibacterial food that needs to be consumed more by Americans to prevent bladder infections.”

And then I'm like, “Okay.” And then she went on to say, “And in order for us to provide more cranberry because it's bitter, we need to be able to add more sugar. So, the Dietary Guidelines shouldn't have the [00:50:38] ______ because it prevents us from–” I'm like, “What? This is a lobbyist telling the Congress with all this science nonsense about why they need to not have lower limits on sugar.” That's just an example. But the fact is there's about 187 lobbyists for every member of Congress, both–

Ben:  A hundred and eighty-seven lobbyists for every member of Congress?

Mark:  Yeah, yeah. Some of them are less official, but when you look at all of them together, it's pretty frightening, and some have literally hundreds. Companies have hundreds of lobbyists. Just to put in perspective, in one bill, which was the GMO labeling law bill, which was an attempt to try to force GMO labeling, there was $192 million spent by dozens of food companies to fight this one bill. You think, who has $192 million who wants more transparency in our food? Nobody. You're fighting a very tough battle.

And so yeah, that maneuver them, you have to outsmart them. And it's very tough to do because they're super sophisticated [00:51:37] ______ messaging and they have all the access inside Washington. And it gets even worse because–I'll just give an example. There was a bill that was introduced a number of years ago called The Personal Responsibility in Food Act, which was nicknamed The Cheeseburger Bill because it indemnified food companies against being sued from the harm their food causes. In other words, if you go to McDonald's or you drink Coca-Cola, you can't sue them because you got sick, right, because people were starting to do that. It passed in the House, believe it or not, and didn't pass in the Senate, but then they had a workaround strategy that allowed them to pass similar bills in many, many states across the country. And the guy who spearheaded it was a guy who received $300,000 for his political campaign through political action committees from Wendy's, and Burger King, and McDonald's. So, how do you actually make sense of that? You've got every single member of the ag committee funded in some way by the food industry.

Ben:  Yeah. And another concerning thing that you talked about in the book, and from what I understand, it kind of makes contributions for lobbyists from some of these big companies a little bit more untraceable, is the use of political action committees or PACs or super PACs that pull money from all these different companies and donors to fund candidates and political parties. But it's not as simple as you simply seeing that Coca-Cola has, say, funded some presidential candidates campaign because instead, it's simply a political action committee. Am I interpreting that correctly?

Mark:  Absolutely. It's called dark money.

Ben:  Dark money.

Mark:  There's books written about this and it's untraceable. Normally, people have to disclose where their campaign contributions come from, but these political action committees work outside of that and can put unlimited funds that are hundreds of millions of dollars. I mean, I think they were like–I don't know exactly. Maybe 10 or a dozen billionaires who put in about $1 billion total and it was Democrats and Republicans. So, it's both, right, putting unlimited funds into trying to change things the way they want them. And I think there's a beautiful book about this called “America, Compromised,” which is a little depressing, but it's by Lawrence Lessig from Harvard, who's a Harvard law professor about the way in which our political system is run by a very few people with a lot of money who gets chosen as political candidates and who gets promoted and marketed. And that's why it's very hard for anybody. That's their breakthrough. So, I think as people become aware of this as we begin to sort of figure out new ways to fight it, I think we're going to actually be able to really get a handle on this.

Ben:  Okay. Got it. So, the PACs are another issue and you've got a whole host of other problems in the book, but I would say–one question that I have for you is you also have a lot of solutions in the book [00:54:49] _____, a list of the top things people can do, either after hearing this podcast or after reading the book. And I'm curious if you could go into like some of the bigger wins. Like if someone's listening to this right away and they're just like, “I want to get involved,” what are some of the big things right off the top of your head that you think people could do more of?

Mark:  Well, on my website foodfixbook.com, I have a whole action guide, which runs through a whole series of things that we can do as individuals, things that we can do within our communities, things that we can do on a political level, and also things that businesses and innovators need to think about doing, as well as policymakers. So, the innovation, for example, around these anaerobic digesters and food waste, that's not a political thing–innovative thing that these farmers decide to do because they were losing money, they were sort of struggling to stay ahead, and actually be able to do this innovation help them to solve the problem.

So, for each person, I think there's a few things that they can do. One is you can lean into, you don't have to be perfect because you can't at this point in time, is lean into the idea of being a regenetarian, which regenerates your health and regenerates the health of the planet, regenerates the health of our economy, and regenerates the health of communities. And that means choosing foods that are raised and grown in ways that help restore that, right? So, organic, okay. Regenerative is the next level, which essentially means building soil and using these techniques like [00:56:13] ______ crop rotation, not using chemicals, integrating animals into the ecosystem and so forth.

So, that's like a really simple idea to learn more about and do, and I talked about that in the book and how to do that. The second is simple things you can do matter, like have a compost pile. It matters. If all of us in America had a compost pile and we didn't throw any food wastes, we would actually help really contribute to the solution of climate change, right? The third thing you can do is wherever you are inspired to act, whether it's in your schools, with your kids, whether it's at your workplace, whether it's being active in your local community, starting a community garden, or whether it's maybe something more like you want to work with your local municipal government to implement the composting ordinance so that it's mandatory composting in your community, or whether you work on a bigger political level in your Congress or State and having a voice there, it's really important.

And there's a great resource called Food Policy Action, which is a great resource for people to look at their senators and congressmen and figure out who's voting on what, and there's a scorecard they get for how they vote on these food and ag issues, and you can see who's doing what. And some of these congressmen who were in the pocket of big food have been outed by the sister constituents with social media campaigns.

Ben:  You talked about that in the book, the Food Policy Action Network has the Eater's Guide to Congress. So, it's a scorecard. You can get it online and it shows you like how certain politicians are voting and how dismal their score might be with regards to food policy.

Mark:  Exactly, exactly. So, in the Action Guide are the top 20 citizen food fixes, the top 20 policy food fixes, the top 10 fixes for schools, in education, the business fixes, the agriculture fixes. So, there's a lot of stuff that we can do.

Ben:  Yeah. I think starting with kids, in my opinion, maybe I'm jaded as a parent, but I think that's one of the most important things that we can do, like taking a child to go tour a regenerative farm to see how it works, and maybe even taking them to a CAFO lot too to compare and contrast, or having them watch these wonderful documentaries like Kiss the Ground for the soil, or the biggest little farm is another good new one on regenerative egg. It's one of the best ways to get kids learn even better from documentaries than they do from books. I was reticent to accept that fact for a while because I'm not a huge fan of screen time, but it actually is true.

If I want my kids to learn something quickly, I'll get a documentary. We rarely watch our TV, but when I put that thing on, the last one they watch was on earthing and grounding. They go outside and it's not super cold out, they're in their bare feet and they never did that before the documentary, but after watching it, they're inspired. Taking your kid to shop at the farmers' market, teaching them how to grow a garden, even a window sill of herbs. There's all sorts of really great tips that you have in the book. And so I recommend that folks go through this just to educate themselves on all the different issues that we're facing right now. And more importantly, not just scare tactics what you can do about it.

Mark:  Exactly.

Ben:  That all being said, boots-on-the streets, I'm curious how you eat, not just as a guy who's aware of all the issues, but as a healthy functional medicine doc who sees a lot of patients. And I realize the diet that works for Mark might not be the diet for everybody, but what does your plate look like? How are you structuring food throughout the day?

Mark:  [00:59:38] ______ talks about plant-based diets. I think the key is a plant-rich diet, or a plant-forward, we can call it. I would say probably 70%, 80% of my diet is plant foods, and that would be lots of veggies, nuts and seeds, like good quality fruit, some grains and beans. I try to eat non-gluten, [00:59:59] ______ the weird food, right? So, Himalayan Tartary buckwheat, for example, is one of the most phytonutrient protein-rich, low sugar starch food on the planet. But it's kind of a weird grain or black rice, for example, or certain grains like lupini beans. I started beans like lupini beans, which are less starchy and more protein.

So, I try to sort of pick within each category what are the most high-quality and nutrient-dense foods. And then if I'm choosing animal foods, I make sure it's regenerative, I make sure it's just grass-finished if it can't be regenerative, or pasture-raised or sustainably harvested or farmed, I it's fish, and make sure I'm really diligent about that because if we don't do that, we're kind of in trouble.

Ben:  Right, right. I mean, even at a steakhouse business dinner, people don't think about this. They don't actually look at the farm from which the meat came or ask whether it's regenaratively farmed food. Fresh on my mind because I ate at US Wellness Meats down in L.A. three days ago and we had this wonderful meal of pate and steak, and some duck, and some tallow fries, and everything was from a regenerative farm in Northern California. Whereas if I walk into some other steakhouse and I just order straight off the menu because my mouth is watering, I'm not affecting change with that personal decision.

The same could be said for GMO foods, which the research goes back and forth on the biological impact. I feel there's an issue with them, but perhaps even the bigger issue is how much they contribute to monocropping and these rice and wheat and corn productions that we know are harming the planet, harming the water system, harming the soil. And so being aware of choosing GMO versus non-GMO. I mean, it's so easy to get up on your soapbox and talk about this stuff. It's another to make sure every little personal decision that you make is pretty myopically focused on the health of the planet and the health of other people in our country, and how much you're subsidizing companies that might be contributing to poor health via food in addition to just your own health. So, I think just being an honest consumer and taking into consideration via educating yourself and then making the right decisions and then turning around and educating your kids is a pretty important piece of this.

Mark:  Absolutely. So, educate yourself, learn, study, read my book, “Food Fix,” watch documentaries, movies. There's a new one coming out soon called “Kiss the Ground” about regenerative agriculture. It's really important to become aware because if you don't become aware, it's hard to change, and if we don't change, we're all screwed. I mean, I hate to be a doomsday guy, but when you look at what's happening to the health of our country and the health of the world and all the other impacts we talked about and the climate impacts. The climate stuff people argue it's a hoax, whatever, but it's hard to argue with facts and math. And climate scientists have been incredibly accurate in predicting what's happened and now their predictions are getting far worse. So, I'm concerned for myself, I'm concerned for my children and their children.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Well, you certainly made a difference in writing this book. So, thank you for writing. It's why I wanted to get you on the show just because after reading it, I realized that with my own platform, I want to make sure that I'm spreading this message so that people are aware of how broken the food system is in our country, but perhaps most importantly, or more importantly, what we can do to change it. So, this book I would recommend to all of you guys along with the website that Mark set up for the book that allows you to take some of these actual changes in your own community, in your own life.

And so if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/foodfix, that's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/foodfix, I'll link to the book, I'll link to some of the documentaries that we mentioned, some of the stories about food waste, and also over to the Food Fix website where you can get list of different action steps that you can take. And support Dr. Hyman, too, I would say by getting the book because it's a wonderful read, it's easy to get through. I read it in a couple of days. When I first got it, I just couldn't put it down. And you're going to come with a lot. That's going to hopefully change your life, your neighborhood, your community, your children, and teach you how to be a responsible consumer of something. I think most of us, except those obsessed with these five-day water fasts are consuming every day food.

So, Mark, thank you for coming on the show and sharing all this stuff with us, man.

Mark:  Thank you so much. And just for people to know, I'm also launching a whole campaign movement bringing all kinds of stakeholders called “The Food Fix Campaign” where we're creating grassroots education awareness, and also driving policy change. So, we're going to be educating lawmakers. We're going to be those lobbyists, but the good guys, and I've got an incredible team put together. And you can go on my site, foodfixbook.com, and learn more about how to get involved. It's super exciting and I think it's one thing to write a book, but it's nothing to really go in and actually make it happen, and that's really what has to be done.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Well, you're doing a good thing. I truly appreciate you, man. So, thank you for writing the book, and again folks, you can find it at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/foodfix. And Mark's got a podcast as well you can listen into and it's just a wonderful resource. So, until next time. I'm Ben Greenfield along with Dr. Mark Hyman signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.

Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned, over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also know that all the links, all the promo codes that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. So, when you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that they generate because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.



I recently read a book that frankly, pardon the language, pissed me off.

The book, entitled Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet—One Bite at a Time, is the brand new release from Dr. Mark Hyman.

Dr. Hyman strongly believes that the most powerful tool to reverse the global epidemic of chronic disease, heal the environment, reform politics, and revive economies is food. His new book explains that we eat has tremendous implications not just for our waistlines, but also for the planet, society, and the global economy.

In Food Fix #1 bestselling author Dr. Mark Hyman explains how our food and agriculture policies are corrupted by money and lobbies that drive our biggest global crises: the spread of obesity and food-related chronic disease, climate change, poverty, violence, educational achievement gaps, and more.

Pairing the latest developments in nutritional and environmental science with an unflinching look at the dark realities of the global food system and the policies that make it possible Food Fix is a hard-hitting manifesto that changed the way I think about food forever, and it provides practical solutions for citizens, businesses, and policymakers to create a healthier world, society, and planet.

Dr. Hyman is a physician and New York Times bestselling author. He is the founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, a proponent of functional medicine and, the board president of clinical affairs of the Institute for Functional Medicine. He's the bestselling author of multiple books, including the brand new title we discuss on this show: Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet—One Bite at a Time.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-What prompted Dr. Hyman to write his new book…7:04

  • Saw many patients w/ the same condition as a result of the food they're eating
  • Food system is the main driver behind the problem
  • Food policies make up the system
  • Food industry is behind the policies; biggest lobby group in Washington is food and agriculture industries
  • A handful of companies are the leading culprits
  • $15 trillion industry; makes up ~17% of the global economy
  • Employs over 20 million workers just in the U.S.
  • The way food is produced is a major contributor to climate change
  • Children w/ healthy diets vs. children w/ unhealthy show dramatic differences in brain size and IQ

-Why the true cost of food is not what you see at the store…13:58

  • Take into account the cost of the entire life cycle of the food: production, storage, eating, waste, etc.
  • Massive environmental destruction
  • Who pays for deforestation, chemicals that destroy soil, climate change that results?
  • Methods used for modern farming are killing the soil
  • Obesity, chronic disease
  • Food stamp recipients buy processed food and soda predominantly
  • We pay for it via Medicaid and medicare
  • The companies who cause the damage don't pay for their actions
  • Regenerative farming is a sustainable farming method
  • Farmland LP invests in conventional farms and converts to sustainable farms

-How food stamp programs contribute to the problem…20:33

  • Food and farm workers are not paid a livable wage; they can't afford health care and are on food stamps
  • SNAP = Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
    • No nutrition standards for SNAP assistance
    • 70% of food purchased w/ SNAP is processed food, soda, etc.
    • It's helped w/ security, but not w/ health
  • Incentives such as lower premiums for healthy choices are more effective than penalizing unhealthy behavior
  • Even hunger advocacy organizations are opposed to changes in the program; they are funded by the food industry
  • Around 20% of Coca Cola revenue is from food stamps
  • Wal-Mart nets $137 billion per year from food stamps

-Inconvenient and invisible truths related to the food industry…28:54

  • The food system is driving most of the crises we see in the world today

-The monopoly of seeds in the food industry…34:15

  • 4-6 seed companies control 60% of the seeds
  • GMO seeds
  • Farmers are stuck in the mix (indebted to seed companies, loss of autonomy in their operations)
  • High suicide rate among Indian farmers

-The difference between dirt and soil and the dangers of monocropping…36:40

  • A living organism: There is more microbial life in a handful of soil than anywhere on the planet
  • Growing plants adds carbon to the soil
  • Soil holds water (protection against drought)
  • Depleted soil results in less nutrients in the produce
  • Agro Forestry: trees as a part of the solution

-The problem of food waste…42:40

  • We waste 40% of our food in the U.S.
  • It would require an area the size of China to grow the food that is wasted
  • Environmental problems from disposed food emitting gases in landfills
  • What can you do?
    • Start a compost pile
    • Give away to farmer's market
    • Many cities have mandatory composting or giveaway to the poor
    • Unused food is being used for energy production
    • Dan Barber

-How the food industry influences food policy at the national level…48:17

  • Lobbyists are the only real influence on policy
  • 187 lobbyists per member of congress (from all industries)
  • Legislation is passed to protect big food companies from lawsuits
  • PAC's are created to protect major corporations (dark money)

-How people can proactively contribute to a solution to this problem…55:00

  • Be a “regenetarian”
    • Choose food grown organically and regeneratively
    • Have a compost pile
    • Educate your children
    • Start a community garden
    • Get into the political arena at the local level

-Mark's personal diet and recommendations…59:18

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

Book: Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet—One Bite at a Time


– Book: Waste Not: How To Get The Most From Your Food by The James Beard Foundation

– Book: The Blood Sugar Solution by Dr. Mark Hyman

Documentary: Kiss The Ground

Documentary: The Biggest Little Farm

CDC study: Health and Academic Achievement

Farmland LP

Dan Barber (wasted popup)

Episode sponsors:

Kion Coffee: Carefully selected and roasted for taste, purity, high antioxidants and health. BGF listeners receive a 10% discount when you use discount code: BEN10

-Beekeeper's Naturals: A wellness company specializing in innovative nutraceuticals made from healing hive compounds and plant-based ingredients. Get 15% off your order when you use discount code: BEN

kApex: kApex breaks down the fats you eat into fatty acids, which allows you to increase the fatty acid oxidation inside your mitochondria both in your muscle and liver. Get 20% off your order when you use coupon code: GREENFIELDKX

Thrive Market: Organic brands you love, for less. Your favorite organic food and products. Fast and free shipping to your doorstep. Receive a gift card up to $20 when you begin a new membership using my link.



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