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The Full Yield Blog

It all begins with food.

November 27, 2009 | Tags: Featured , Food , Health | Post comment

It all begins with food.

You don’t yet know me and I don’t yet know you but one thing we both know for sure: we have to eat.  And to feel good and live well, in each moment and throughout our lives, we have to eat well—every time we eat.  So what on earth is happening?  Why aren’t we eating well?

If you are reading this, the odds are you would like to feel better and you would like to do something about your health—either improve it or safeguard it.  The odds are very good that no one has told you that the quality of what you eat is the most important ingredient in your health, your weight, your mood, your mind, your energy, and your sleep. And if you’re the average American, you’ve not had the benefit of feeling your very best because you’ve not eaten the best way we can eat, which is entirely—that is, exclusively—whole foods.

For a lot of interrelated reasons, a handful of generations ago we accidentally forgot about the value of food.  We forgot that if we want to wake up feeling zippy and ready for whatever day awaits us, if we want to live long and disease-free lives, if we want healthy babies and children and grandparents, if we want to have productive and attentive colleagues and employees, if we want to have more money for living life instead of spending money on our own and each others’ diseases and symptoms, we have to care about the quality of what we eat—all the time.

We got so carried away with advances in medicine and machinery, with fertilizers and pesticides and pills, with shelf-life and packaging and the pretense of convenience in those fast foods and fast pills, we lost sight of the real thing: natural, life-giving, health-sustaining food.  It hardly shows up in grocery stores, where more than 80% of what’s available is highly processed, and it doesn’t show up in the healthcare system at all, where we admonish patients to ‘eat better’ but hand out free lollipops with our prescriptions for heart disease and feed inpatients just about the most non-nutritive foodstuffs there are.

The United States spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world and less on food (per percent of income) than any other population in the world.  These two facts are the two sides of the same coin, the coin that is public health.  They are also at the root of most of what you or those you love suffer from, physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially.  For you and I and we are public health.

It’s right to want to feel truly good and to get and stay truly well.  And it’s your right to know how to achieve this.  But how could you know unless you got lucky and someone taught you?  And how could you know unless you got more than the words, you also got the experience of eating well and the powerful results, day in and day out? 

Almost 20 years ago I began a nurse-midwifery program at Yale; I was very interested in public health and in systems change and because birth is a beginning and because mothers are our most consistent modern-day ambassadors of culture, I wanted to be a midwife.  In the first month in that program, it became clear to me that food is the real beginning and that my mother’s and grandmother’s attention to food everywhere in our lives was not in fact a family eccentricity but the means by which we humans have protected and upheld everything of value: health, connection, and culture. 

I hope we will get to know each other, you and I.  I hope you will join The Full Yield and give yourself permission to learn, with support, the way to be your healthiest and most exuberant self.  And I hope that together, we will turn public health into good health for everyone.