Are You Living in a Natural Health Bubble? : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Tuesday Sep 13 | BY |
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public policy health bubble
If I was going to live in a bubble, it would be this one.

My article on whether or not there should be more public policy on eating created a little bit of a stir…

I knew it would.

One of the largest problems in the natural health world – myself included – is that we tend to live in a bubble.

The bubble is the same that occurs in any group that spends a lot of time together. So for instance if you only hang out with alcoholics, then you think everyone drinks and goes to the bar every day. If you hang out with skydivers, you have no idea people are afraid of jumping out of a plane.

When you’re in the natural health bubble, you tend to think that everyone buys organics, eats a high raw diet, and look at unhealthy people and say, “if they’d only eat real food…” type statements. Also, what’s more frequent, is that you tend to think that the individual should be responsible for their own health.

I think that’s a mistake.

Inside of the natural health bubble, the individual is already responsible for their own health, no regulation is needed.

Outside of the bubble, the individual is also responsible for their own health, but it’s not working out so well.

Individual choice has allowed their chances of obesity, heart disease, cancer and every other disease to increase dramatically.

Leaving health policy up to the individual is selfish.

Selfish isn’t always a negative thing.

As a natural health advocate, it’s your responsibility to take care of yourself. If that’s as far as you want to go – your own survival – then go for it. Stay in the bubble (it’s a good one to be in!) and live your life. It will likely be a good one filled with fresh fruits and vegetables that you’ve grown yourself. Unless…

The other people who have been allowed to make their own choices – the people who are choosing (unknowingly) to eat fake foods that are putting them into the grave – eventually collapse the economy and your business or job are affected.

So if this happens, does individual choice (or no regulation at all) help us, or hurt us as a collective?

The answer is that it’s devastating.

What’s worse, is that this person making “individual” junk food choices could be a family member or a husband or wife.

If you get out the bubble you’ll see why policy is needed.

If you’ve spent time around the country like we have, you probably have seen the sad state of health of – at least – the U.S. first hand.

One of the most striking moments for me was in a Walmart in Laramie, WY. Ann and I walked in to get a blanket because it was -15 degrees outside and we weren’t sure the RV would be warm enough for us. When we were checking out, we saw two massive pallets of Cheez-Its and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. The price for the big box of Cheez-Its was $0.99. The mac and cheese was even cheaper at $0.29.

I said to Ann, “at $0.29 a box, I finally understand why people buy this stuff.”

She agreed.

I realized now that it really wasn’t up to the individual.

When you have $1.00 in your pocket and need to feed your family, what would you do?

Grow your own?

Yes, “grow your own” sounds good when people talk about it, but think about this.

You’re a mom or dad that lives on fixed income and fixed time. You can’t afford your Section 8 apartment with just one job, so you have work another at night.

So now you’re working 10-14 hours a day, have 4 kids to take care of and are having trouble just making ends meet as things are.

Does growing your own food in your “free time” sound like a good solution?

In this case, the individual’s choices are determined by survival, not by choice.

What about education? Can’t we just teach everyone about healthy foods?

Yes, you can teach people about healthy foods. I think education is a powerful way to help people understand the value of their health, but it’s only part of the equation.

When faced with a decision to buy something cheap that will feed everyone in the family vs. buying two heads of lettuce – that will leave everyone hungry – no amount of education will override the survival response.

Also, any type of education for groups of people who can’t afford healthy food starts at a community level, then tends to blossom to some sort of policy activism group – there are plenty of them in Berkeley here… LOL! They realize by working in the trenches that just teaching people isn’t enough, you have to change the policy that is getting them sick (in many cases, the policy doesn’t exist.)

But what about the kids? Can’t we teach them?

Ann and I watched both series of Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution.” This is a perfect example of how education just doesn’t cut it.

You can’t just decide to teach kids at a local school and show up one day. Oliver, in the first and second series, struggled to work with the school board to even make small changes in the school lunches the children were eating.

Eventually, he needed to talk to government agencies to plead his case to them.

The only way we can teach children is to change public policy about how nutrition and food shows up in the classroom and the cafeteria. Otherwise, there’s no chance.

Anyone who’s tried to make a difference at the school level has experienced the same stress and heartache as Oliver and I’m sure you’ll agree that some sort of policy would help make teaching what we should already know about health that much easier.

Let’s get clear… What do I mean by government public policy?

Where the rubber hits the road when it comes to public policy does not have to be at a federal level.

In fact, I’d rather it not. The reason why is because any federal policy takes way to much time to integrate into action and tends to be too watered down.

If you’ve been in a community garden, you’ve experienced public policy on a local level that allows space for private citizens to grow a garden. This is the type of local public policy that I’m advocating.

So when I say I think there should be more public policy around eating, I don’t mean that the federal government should regulate supplements or something silly like that, I mean that the local governments should increase their policing of the quality of foods available to their citizens.

I don’t have all the answers, but what if we looked at policy in this way…

Local government made it mandatory for each school to have a garden program and provided funding for it – or better yet – the program was modeled to pay for itself.

Local government provided regulation for the number of fast food restaurants in a certain geographical location (See: Los Angeles.)

Local government added a fee to junk food that was then given back to the grocers for vouchers to buy produce cheaper and make it more affordable.

Maybe these ideas will work and maybe they won’t, but when looking at the largest picture, the “individual” is not just you in the bubble. It’s someone who will never in their lifetime know about holy basil or green smoothies. These are the people who aren’t in a position to make the decision as an individual. They’ve never been given a choice. They may be members of your family.

Public policy – even at a small local level – affords them this option.

You will be fine. I’m sure of it.

It’s everyone else that I’m concerned about.

I want to know your thoughts: What ideas do you have for good local public policy?

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Kristy says:

    I agree with you Kevin only to a point. I don’t like to see people’s freedom of choice taken away. I am forced to wear a seatbelt and I hate it…not wearing it…being forced to wear it. It’s my life…butt out. But I have learned amazing things about food in the last couple of years…fascinating about the healing properties. I would like to see the education start in school textbooks. Food is a fascinating science and all we learned was the food groups, nothing about how it really feeds your body and cells…etc. And, yes, good food IS expensive and that is what I struggle with.


  2. Manda says:

    If we’re going to enact public policy in regards to eating, then what we really need to look at are the food subsidies. Our money (taxes) is spent to subsidize -encourage the growth/distribution and make less expensive to buy- the very foods that are causing obesity and health problems. Fruits and vegetables cost more and fresh, ripe, organic fruits and vegetables are seen as cost prohibitive to your average person. This is the first legislation that needs to be affected.
    Second, we need to rescind the new “food safety” bill that was recently passed by ignorant lawmakers. Rather than make the food supply safer, it serves to undermine natural and healthy whole foods while encouraging irradiated, processed foods. It expands the powers of an unsupervised FDA to restrict our access to natural supplements that many of us choose over Big Pharma products.
    Third, we need to look at food going into public schools and daycares, as these are provided by government program. My son is in preschool and the menu is based on milk, cheese, processed meats, canned veg/fruits and processed fruit juices. Imagine a child who has to start daycare at the age of six weeks – they encourage formula feeding and then provide the above diet … this is what a child will eat in formative years that guide taste buds and food preferences.

    I want legislation that subsidizes fresh, organic fruits and vegetables as there is science too obvious to ignore that they provide building blocks for good health. Other than that, I would like a level playing field – stop the regulation of natural foods and supplements. If McDonalds wants to expand and set up with the frequency of Starbucks, that’s ok with me. I simply will not spend my money there.

    Here’s the thing, though. My work (paramedic and er nurse) takes me into the homes and lives of low income families with significant health problems everyday. I live down south, where access to organic and healthy foods is extremely limited. Yet the natural food stores, produce stands, and farmers markets are just as close to section 8 housing as they are to my place (and even on the bus route). My coworkers have access to the same knowledge I do, and yet I’m the odd woman out drinking a green smoothie for breakfast and a big salad for lunch – they tend to eat the same as our patients. People eat how they want to eat, regardless. They will choose chemo over Gerson any day because juicing is too hard and coffee enemas are weird; people will choose turkey necks and fried catfish over salads and legumes even if it comes with obesity, CHF, and a shorter life.

    Legislation may help to make things more available, but until mainstream doctors and scientists start making good nutrition a primary concern, until they start educating and illustrating a healthy lifestyle, this problem will be with us.

  3. Kevin, your proposed solutions are good.

    “If you want to be wrong then follow the masses” – Socrates

  4. I think we should ask “the individual” what he or she wants. In some poverty-stricken areas in this country, many people do have land for gardening and for raising chickens, cows, or hogs. They still buy Mac & Cheese at Wal-Mart and fry all their food in soybean oil. They order hamburgers and milkshakes from Sonic on special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, or a Friday night date on the town (plus popcorn and candy at the movie theater). It’s not because they only have $1.00 to feed the family. It’s because the TV told them this stuff was cool, they tried it, and found that it tastes a lot better than the homegrown salads, fresh eggs, and grassfed beef they had grown up eating. Teaching their children how to grow a garden is not something these people want.

  5. Heather Hemphill says:

    Right On Kevin and Manda. Very well said. And here is another aspect that is key as well and that is those who legislate tend to be funded by large companies with heavy agendas. And those who report on it are completely controled by same. So people who are living the mainstream life are conditioned from every direction to think that what they are doing is normal and their best option. A difficult situation but not impossible to turn around thanks to the internet.
    I know I have changed lives as have you Kevin, Annmarie and I am sure you Mandy just by being an example and speaking up. Spreading the word has started to make some shifts and that can happen faster the more we shine with what we know.

    I love your minds 🙂

  6. Shari says:

    I too live in a health food bubble and have for 15 years. I was forced into it by a health problem – Lyme disease that went undiagnosed for 5 years.
    For years, I was the ‘odd guy’ who ate ‘rabbit food’ (organics) as my mother called it.
    I have semi-converted a few of my family into making ‘some’ healthier choices, but my friends look at me as an alien. One even asked me if I had a cookbook for organic food. It’s hard to explain that organic food is FOOD – REAL FOOD. Food that you would grow yourself. Food that GOD created. WOW!
    When some friends or their family members came down with cancer, I tried to give them dietary and nutritional ideas. They all thanked me and said when “they were done with chemo and radiation” then they would look me up and consider some changes. Well, they never did. They’ve had bouts with cancer again and one died.
    I’ve wanted to bang my head against the wall trying to show people what the Standard American Diet, etc is doing to them.
    All my friends have health conditions. My husband and I are the only ones of our acquaintances who are not on any medications and haven’t been and we are both 67 years old. When we’ve had physicals for any reason and report that we take no meds, they can’t believe it.
    I came to the conclusion that I can’t change them even though I tried and still do by sending them email things from natural and alternative sources. I feel like I need to share info with them, then it’s up to them what to do with it. If I gave up and just let them stay in the dark, then I would feel terrible that I knew something that could help them and didn’t share it.

  7. Velda says:

    Living in a bubble? Just because you care about your health BEFORE you get sick does not mean you live in a bubble. I work with many people and I am the only one that knows how to eat to get and stay healthy. No one else cares. If they get sick, some of them come to me to ask if there is anything “natural” they can do. Other than that, they want to eat what they want to eat, and cook in the microwave, etc. I have followed Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. You are right, Kevin. It has been frustrating to watch him try to get past people who really don’t care about health.

    I think that is the key. The people in power, don’t care about providing healthy food. I could support what you are saying about regulation …. only on a local level. That is the way this country was meant to run – each community having it’s own regulations. We need to make sure we are electing people that are willing to know what our community rights are and stand on that. However, most of our local officials do not know that constitutionally we can actually stop the Federal Government from doing what it is doing.

    The other side of it is that so many people are paid off by the big pharma that it is hard to get people to care. Part of keeping us sick with food is to dumb us down, scare us, control our food, and move us into a One World Order. Look up Agenda 21. The wheels for this were put in motion back in 1992 – and there was a 20-year time table to get this done. Agenda 21 means they want the OWO done in the 21st century – and 2013 is a big goal for them. This may sound insane to you, but that’s the way a lot of people look at those that eat healthy also (that it’s insane). Just because it sounds insane does not make it untrue.

    Same with GMO foods … people would rather believe it is “not that bad”, or “not true” than to get involved and vocal about it. Also, many people on government assistance make more than I do – and have big screen TVs, cable, drive nice cars, etc. They have access and money for healthy food. Speaking of which, growing your own food does not take that much time – and it is so rewarding.

    Well, goodness, I guess I could go on and on. Good comments from Manda and Heather as well. I don’t think there is an easy answer, but regulation, at least on a federal level, is not good. On a very local level could be doable, if you have responsible people and people whose character can stand the test of power.

    Thanks for sharing, Kevin. Love the picture. I could live in that bubble also 🙂

  8. pe says:

    As I mentioned last time, the big corpses, besides swaying govt, take advantage of subsidies to some foods to figure how to process those cheaper foods in a way that will be tempting to the customer. They came up with salt, sweet, and fat. Yum.
    But govt subsidized the calorie foods because they wanted cheap food. This happened way back after world war 1 (the war that ended all wars, right? At least the man elected Prez said it would, after he got elected keeping the US out of the war) And farmers started finding real farming harder and harder. The history is sad, but not altogether a vast conspiracy, just klever plans with unforeseen consequences.
    Anyway, there couldn’t have been subsidies for fruits and veggies because they didn’t have enough calories, and working people had to be fed on the cheap, so wages didn’t go up too much. (After 1973, wages– mean real hourly wages, real mean– started going down under wonderful capitalism, and they haven’t ever recovered. And won’t.)
    Some bubbles explode violently. With a proper shock, as I’ve said often, we can start to live a civilized life. But get ready now– with or without that shock, the future is up to you.
    Good thinking, Kevin. we are our siblings’ keeper, or we bear the mark of Cain.

  9. Velda says:

    Shari – I so agree with you. I am 64 and on no meds. I try to share with people, but most don’t want to hear it – even my own Dad who has health issues and is on 9 medications a day!! People just don’t want to know. So many of them say “look, we all are going to die anyway – why not enjoy life”. They seem to think that by developing a taste for healthy food somehow makes you enjoy life less. Go figure 🙂

  10. Kevin, I LOVE what you have communicated here and how you have communicated it. I spend every single day of my life thinking about these exact issues you have communicated so well and what the heck we can do to “pop the bubble” so to speak.

    Mostly, I think it comes back to money, period. What I mean by money is what is communicated in the movie, as our monetary system. Our monetary system ultimately sets all the controls, and has all the ‘power’. It is hard to imagine any significant change until we get rid of the federal reserve and kick out the bankers who ultimately control the world around us. Yet you are right that it starts on the local level to create enough supporters to ultimately make the bigger changes like with the federal reserve.

    The local state examples you have given are the answer to where we can start. Even on the state level however, it is quite difficult to get enough people to all vote for big changes.

    Yet I’m all open ears for any local advocacy groups and initiatives that are trying to move in the type of direction you exemplify in CA. Zeitgeist supporter groups are all over now as well, and are doing this kind of footwork and local movement.

    Keep up the good work and keep us updated with any groups we can all join to get involved and create these local policies!!!

  11. Diane says:

    Shari (and others…but I only had time to skim the comments, so can’t respond to all) –

    Your comment about cancer caught my eye because of a recent similar experience with an aunt (who is even now at death’s door). Because she’s been in my thoughts lately, I’ve been clicking on more cancer articles (alternative, not mainstream), and was shocked to read that the “success rate” for chemotherapy is only 2%. I mentioned it at work and my friends were skeptical, so I went home and googled “success rate of chemotherapy,” which easily confirmed that 2% is about right. Studies were done by mainstream doctors and organizations–not anyone who had anything against chemo. Even worse, the definition of “success” is not a long and healthy life, but 5 years of survival. With those odds, you’d be better off taking your chances with cancer! Even better, of course, is to strengthen your body’s own amazing immune system, the best anti-cancer weapon you’ll ever have.

    I was amazed that although I’ve been reading alternative health information for years, and practicing all I can, I had never heard this shocking statistic. If you had asked me to guess the success rate of chemotherapy, I might have guessed 50% and considered that bad. Wow!! This is absolutely criminal…or insane.

    For any illness, a patient has the right to ask their doctor for real information, and to get a truthful, civil reply. If you were having experimental surgery, you’d ask…so why don’t people ask when they submit to chemotherapy? Not to mention the other cancer “treatments.” All we do is cut, burn, and poison, as I read somewhere. It makes me angry.

    Sorry this is off-topic. I just want to help get the word out!

  12. Hello says:

    I just read this article
    and how strokes have increased by 30-37% in those aged 15-44 in 13 years. How sad is it that strokes are increasing in children and adolescents who many times just do what everyone else is doing and expect that others are doing fine healthwise. I know it can be frustrating when no matter how much I preach, people don’t change or understand what they’re doing isn’t healthy or is detrimental to their condition. I think it’s aall about conformity. Most people look at those around them, nd they don’t realize how sick so many people are or at least they don’t absorb this reality. People like to do what’s easiest. That includes feeling comfortable in social situations and institutions where it is expected that you like desserts, you’re expected to cheat every once and a while on your “diet”, you’re expected to take the escalator instead of the stairs etc. They want to join the crowd. Not everyone wants to go out of their way to climb the stairs. Not because it’s hard or because they don’t know in their subconscious that it’s better for them, but because they’d be the only ones climbing the stairs while crowds use the escalators. How many healthy fast food chains are there? Sometimes people don’t want to carry and prepare their own food. They don’t want to go to a restaurant with their friends and not order something directly from the menu. I feel there is a sort of stigma to being healthy similar to being a math nerd or something else that prevents people from eating healthy or randomly reciting square roots of prime numbers for fun. People learn less by preaching and more from example and even more from a society they can conform to. Most people get into health after they encounter health problems and have heard or seen other people who have cured or improved their diseased status naturally. Also, there’s a lot of misinformation and opinions on just what is healthy. Most people think bacon sandwiches are bad but ham sandwiches are healthy. I, on the other hand, don’t think ham sandwiches are healthy.

  13. Nick says:

    Shari, The same things happen to me. I know what your saying. People are always saying how can you eat that rabbit food. But like you I take no meds and all my friends take many meds everyday and have other issues.
    I work out for an at least an hour everyday and have no back pain or any other pain and fell great everyday. But people that see this, say they can never eat rabbit food I have to have my meat !
    I had a few people that tried it felt better and improved but still can’t completely convert. I’m 51 but I feel like I’m in my 20’s tons of energy ! And I also cured a really bad illness by diet.

  14. Anna says:

    It’s not really a lot of work to start & maintain a garden. I have a container garden, and other than the initial set up, it’s not a lot of work. Harvesting veggies from my backyard is easier & faster than going to the grocery store. I am ill & I still do it… anyone can do it, really.

    As for personal responsibility, it is of the utmost importance. For years, I thought I was eating ‘healthy’ but didn’t get the blood tests I needed because insurance didn’t cover the tests (deemed not medically necessary).

    Anyway, turns out I was eating the wrong diet for my health conditions. The raw food diet made my thyroid & hypoglycemia worse (too many sweets & goitrogens, & cold foods can weaken an already weak spleen). A cooked vegetarian diet was no better- way too many carbs & starches for my constitution.

    Before my veggie phases, I had the SAD diet, which no doubt caused my initial health issues.

    Now I’m on a Paleo diet and I am working with a holistic Dr. to get the tests I need. I pay out of pocket, & get better care. No stupid insurance company to drain my wallet paying sky high premuiums, then deny me the care I need. Imagine that.

    So I have FINALLY taken responsibility for my health by understanding my health issues, and how they are interconnected. By spending countless hours online researching how the body really works- immune system, endocrine system, hormonal messengers, liver, adrenals, pancreas, digestion, etc. The road back to health is a LONG one, but little by little, I see improvements.

    But I don’t really have a lot of sympathy for folks that continue to poison themselves. Folks that treat their bodies like garbage dumps. If they can’t afford good medical care, it is their responsibility to get a better job to pay for it. It is their responsibility to limit the number of kids they have.

    I will refuse to participate in the sham that is Obamacare & get taxed up the wazoo & forced to pay sky high premiums to subsidize the medical care of others that are just too d**n lazy to make some lifestyle changes & learn how their body works.

    Sadly, human nature is like this- give somone freebies (housing, medical care, whatever), they do NOT appreciate it. They become MORE irresponsible. They become demanding. They want even MORE freebies. They really don’t care if the money to take care of them comes out of the pocket of a hard-working, responsible person like me that is financially penalized for their mistakes. But it’smy money, so I care.

    I know people that are on welfare, food stamps, subsidized medical care, etc., and their sense of entitlement is pretty outrageous. They mock my food choices as they smoke & scarf down Kool Aid, supermarket meats & Hostess by the bucketload. They mock my career choices (yeah, I’m a sellout but who do you think they come running to when they need a loan?)

    Oh, & they can’t wait for Obamacare. They don’t care that hard working folks like me could be forced to pay bet. 600-1000/ month in insurance premiums. As long as it doesn’t come out of their pocket. That’s the problem with this country- we used to preach self-reliance, but now we preach a mentality of dependency. Well, remove the security of the nanny state & overnight you will see lazy people stepping up like never before. Why? Because they will have no other choice other than to step up & be self-reliant & responsible.

    No one subsidizes my care (nor would I want them to), I have not ever asked for handouts. And I don’t have 6 kids by 5 different fathers. If I can do it, they can find a way. And there’s no way I am buying forced health insurance. NOT happening. I will only pay for my care. The buck stops here with me. As it does for them. No more exucuses or looking for handouts.

  15. Velda says:

    Amen, Anna!!

    You can go on the internet and find growing bags to use on a patio or small yard or any place you need to contain the growing. Don’t even need to build containers – the growing bags come ready to use.

  16. Lucy says:

    Anna, it sounds like you’ve made some broad generalizations based on the people you know personally. I also pride myself on personal responsibility, but I don’t think you can chalk poverty up to laziness. I’m guessing you come from at least a somewhat privileged background or you would realize that there is such a thing as the working poor. You must really believe in the good ole American dream. You’re entitled to your beliefs, but it seems like you could put your energy into something more positive than judging and resenting people who are poor and/or ignorant; just as I could put my energy into something better than being angered and saddened by your lack of compassion for your fellow humans.

  17. Ira Edwards says:

    Great topic, good thinking and great responses. If the public could determine public nutrition policy, that would require substatial agreement on what is good food, and we don’t have it. Good policy would depend on good research, and good research is usually buried and neglected in favor of what policy makers want to believe. I respect raw food and vegetarian people, but I don’t want them setting policy that will limit my use of tallow in cooking. I eat zucchini for every meal in season, often with eggs, and add beef fat for good nutrition, knowing animal fat and cholesterol do not cause heart disease. I use plenty of salt, and know it will not cause high blood pressure as long as I get adequate potassium. I don’t want transfats outlawed, because my healthful butter contains healthful natural transfat. I eat very little bread or pasta, knowing wheat is a disease-producing food. By now, you surely don’t want me deciding policy for you.
    We do have the USDA setting food policy, and their choices are highly influenced by agribusiness.
    I am 80, have perfect vision, no drugs, no disease. My health is better now than 20 years ago.

  18. SS says:

    I agree with you about the cheap Mac n cheese! Just sad. Community space to grow a garden is a good idea, however, it is probably seasonal in most of the USA, which may only have people involved a few months a year (better than nothing I guess). I think also, we need FREE CLASSES on how to eat and prepare some vegetables. Most people I know don’t know HOW to incorporate veggies, fruits, legumes and healthy grains into their diets, probably because they didn’t eat a diet like that growing up. But, most people I know don’t have the time, or won’t make the time because it’s easier to open up a box or jar of something full of salt or sugar and quickly throw it on the table for their family or put a chunk of meat in the oven and call it dinner, or order out. I too, am sort of an oddie to other people looking at me sipping my green smoothies. I try to educate people on natural remedies, eating,etc. and I do get people asking questions quite often (doubt they act on it), but I copy articles and leave them in the lunchroom for people to read, which I believe helps spread the word and makes them think.

  19. Marlene says:

    Hi, I know this is off topic but where can I buy a container garden? Sounds interesting. I don’t have a patio or access to the outside so can this garden work indoors (I live in a one bedroom apt)? It would be so nice to have fresh fruits and vegetables!

  20. Peter says:

    I agree with Manda above, that a good public policy is to shift subsidies out of GMOs and other mass-produced grains to organic and local farming. It’s going to be tough with Democrat Lobbyists budding up with big corporations like Montsano.
    Cheap food is no longer a choice when it’s down to survival as said by Kevin. Only those of us who can afford healthy foods have options, and we need to expand that to allow more local, fresh and organic products to flood the market and drown Democrat-controlled food subsidies. Don’t believe me? Research what the Democrats in California are doing to stop the rise of organics in various regions BEHIND closed doors.

  21. Grace says:

    I agree with SS in the post above that says we need “FREE CLASSES on how to eat and prepare some vegetables.”

    Perhaps local natural health practitioners, gardeners, and other local professionals, could donate some of their time to offer classes like these and start a grassroots movement.

    Even the national experts could do this. Wouldn’t it be great to have Kevin and Ann Marie, Mike Adams, Dr. Elson Haas, etc. recruit other nationally known nutritional experts and educators around the nation to provide gardening, nutrition, and cooking classes at schools, in churches, civic centers, etc for parents and kids. Their blogs and websites that I love and enjoy so much primarily speak to those of us already in the health bubble. It’s time to get outside the bubble and educate.

    Even though I have a master’s in holistic nutrition, I’m not a professional educator or a gifted and influential speaker. Would love to have a classes in these areas! 🙂 I’ve influenced others more by living a good example than anything else.

    Kevin thanks for sharing your ideas and starting this conversation.

  22. LynnCS says:

    Several months ago I went to the doctor about what I believed were some out of control heart palpitations. I wanted to lose weight and get back to exercise. I was concerned about that. They did all the echo’s and the halter monitor and found something they could diagnose. I was supposed to get a referral to the cardiologist.

    Today I went as a follow up and to get the referal. He checked me over and listened to what I’ve been doing, and said, “We don’t have a medical system that helps people prevent illness. We have a medical system that waits till people get really sick and then give them medicine that is basically poison. It’s a dangerous thing to go to the doctor and even worse to go the a hospital.” He said, “We don’t have a system that teaches people how to take care of themselves. He also said that whatever I am doing that has brought about such changes; weight loss, almost no palpitations, and other symptoms bettered, to just keep doing what your doing and unless you need something…see you in a year.” I thought..Maybe. Seems to me the bubble is starting to break…the word is getting out. I know it is hard to turn this health care thing around, but it is turning around when an old time regular MD can admit these things. He showed me a paper written by a medical group showing how many people are maimed, sickened and killed by hospitalization, doctors’ care, and medicine. I don’t think he shows this kind of report to everyone, but because I talked about what I was doing to overcome these health issues, He was open to talking about it. As we all get the word out, it becomes “the hundredth monkey” eventually it all just turns around and more people than not will see this life as normal. In that way I agree that we can be in a bubble if we choose. Where I live, not so much. This is kill an elk or a deer country and you end up on the front page of the local paper with your dead prize, so NO bubble here. My soul was soaring when I left the drs office today. I told him that I was so grateful that he was a practical man and thanked him for seeing the possibilities in the new diet and exercise. I was ready to change doctors if I didn’t get support for my new life style. Many spiritual things like this have been happening.

  23. Jillian says:

    I think it is really interesting how local public policy requires a community of people getting together for a common cause and voting local laws into practice, and you have posted an article about this to our specific Renegade Health community of people, and the responses have revealed that even in our health focused community there are still very different thoughts about this issue. Makes me worry what it will be like to get a real community in the non-internet world to come together on these kinds of matters. I support this kind of effort as someone whose company works with the poor urban community that faces the very challenges of food access and cost that you observed. When my clients come in for consultations with me, they really do not know better. They are shocked when I mention the idea of eating a mostly living, plant based diet. The idea never occurred to them. An average TV watching individual is exposed to numerous pieces of misinformation regarding health, from news organizations that they deem to be reliable sources of information. Just watch one episode of “The Doctors” and it very clear why people cannot be left on their own to make decisions? When will they have the time to research to see whether The Doctors gave them incorrect info? It just isn’t practical. How can I hold my clients responsible for choices they made without the information required? Once I educate them and they choose to ignore it, then they are on their own. I look forward to updates and how my organization can help on the East Coast.

  24. Edith says:

    I think we can best benefit our health and the economy by not shopping at Wal-mart in the first place. What in the dickens were you doing in that store, Kevin? Shame on you.

    Second, I don’t think the Democrats are in bed with Monsanto..I think ALL the politicans are in bed with Monsanto, and probably the Republicans more so.

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      @Edith: You have to be playing right? Sometimes, when you’re in an RV at 12:00 AM freezing your butt off in -15 degree weather in a Walmart parking lot you have to break the rules. 😉

      Also, Walmart may actually be leading the charge to re-localize our food market… Michael Pollan has spoken about this recently. Stay tuned.


  25. Jillian says:

    Edith, I sense perhaps some playfulness in your shame on Kevin statement…? If you have followed their travels across the broad American landscape, I think it is understandable that they’d get stuck needing something unexpected and all that was available was a WalMart. Especially in the middle of the night. You should know Kevin better than that.

  26. Bill K. says:


    I agree with many of your points but fundamentally I have some differences to express.

    Although much of my reading tends to be in the “bubble”, as you term it, I live pretty much live outside of it. I am one of the few in both my community and at work who follows anything near to a healthy diet. (At work I bring apples and spring water in and set them next to the donut box and coffee pot.) I see first hand what happens when people live off of processed and packaged foods and all of the health issues that these foods create. I also know the difficulty in trying to persuade people to change their diet having been actively working in the trenches with those around me. It has been my experience that just removing the bad foods is not the answer much as prohibition in the 1920’s did not work to stop drinking. This is why I am against the government trying to regulate food choices as they are attempting to do in New York. This just breeds contempt for healthy foods and does not address the core issue of convincing people as to why they should be changing their diets. I believe it is the job of our side to make our case in the court of public opinion regarding this issue. We need to get our facts in order and present them clearly and convincingly so that the change will be lasting. I know we are fighting against a lot of the food industries professional marketing tools but there is no reason why we can’t employ the same methods. We need to stop wining about how un-fair the process is and start using our skills to overcome this oppression. One of the problems may be how we are fighting this battle. The meat and milk industries have very united lobbies that work in unison to battle the government on their behalf. We, on the other hand, have a whole bunch of splinter groups all with slightly different messages. We need to find some common ground and create a super lobbying force based on getting more people healthy. I may not totally agree with them but I like what the PCRM people are doing for cancer. OK, I don’t think their diet goes far enough but at least they have a very organized plan of attack and a strong lobby. Also they have a growing network out there teaching their ideas. This same concept needs to be used with low fat raw which would need to be built around some strong core principles that we could get a big enough group to agree to. Principles like, no GMO, the use of fresh un-processed foods and pushing for tax credits for small farms and health promoting programs. Remember, you will win many more battles with a little sugar than you will with vinegar. (Pardon the unhealthy analogy). I believe that the government should be involved but from a different standpoint. Government should get out of the business of subsidizing mega farms which is why Wal-Mart is able to sell Mac-n-cheese for $0.29 but should work harder to regulate fraud in products like the misuse of terms like organic etc…. Rather than having the government force school to install gardens I would rather see our group getting the word out school by school and convince someone within each local school to take ownership of a garden program and convince their school leaders to make it part of the educational process. Grass roots is always more effective than regulation. Regarding the local government our money would be better spent pushing for schools to have a local purchase requirement to buy some percentage of their food from local small farms. This would be a more realistic method of getting fresh foods into the lunch programs and also help the local economy in each area. We need to strongly and unceasingly convince our government with the facts until changes occur. I know it is not that simple I have been to Washington many times. But pushing for them to ban salt isn’t going to work either. We will just help create salt speakeasies down dark allies. Constantly proving and showing what salt does to people might work better and leading people in a fun way to salt alternatives would, I believe, be much more effective. I think the best approach to this whole problem is by creating a central group that uses creative marketing to slowly convince people that healthy is cool. I also hate to say it but this group needs to look a little more like the general populous. The message will be lost on many if the messenger looks like a holdover from Woodstock. I often hear, “What do those California hippies know anyway?” People will relate better to one of their “own” demonstrating the viability of the diet. Remember, “A good chameleon gets more flies”! Also, I like what Jamie Oliver has done to get the word out. Again, do I completely agree with the diet he is selling? No, but if grass fed beef gets people off of corn fed and antibiotic laced beef, then I am for it. It is the same with other foods as well. Let’s get people eating natural rice over the boxed minute rice, whole grain breads over white bread, get them making fresh squeezed orange juice instead of concentrate. All of these small changes will eventually start the ball rolling in the right direction. We can’t expect that two years from now the world will embrace low fat raw. I would hope that we will have made some good inroads in about 50 years. But if switching to natural meats makes people more healthy and spending less time in the hospital then let’s help them make that step and then go incrementally from there. Unfortunately, short term many will still lose their lives needlessly to improper food, but long term the next generation may be spared this misery if we do the groundwork starting now. Let me know when you would like to start the process.

    Bill K.

  27. Jeff says:

    Hey Kevin, great topic and Wow.
    I ask myself some of the same questions, then leading into…What is it going to take for Americans to wake up and make choices that support their health? Will it come from some sort of policy or will everyone have to have their own moment where they wake up and say…I better change or else? I think if individuals have enough awareness, they will make the shifts themselves. So what does it take for someone to wake up and make a new choice? They really have to see a benefit. They must be convinced and resolved beyond a shadow of a doubt that “this is the way to live and this lifestyle best supports me and my planet”.

    We all enter the flow of information at a particular time based on something. For me I just started to explore foods, herbs, and exercise. I felt better so I just did new lifestyle shifts to help me feel better. I felt better, and better and better. Ultimately I don’t think it will be any law or policy that will change the way people think, eat or live their lives. It will come from a new level of understanding. Individuals will see that the benefits of living in harmony will benefit them more than their current state of affairs.

    Then of course the questions arises, Will that take too long? It might, and something about the current state of human nature allows some people to endure extremely high levels of emotional pain and suffering before they choose to change to live a life driven by motivation and benefit.

    My realization and I guess experience in the past 10 or so years has been to keep sharing what I do and love. High amounts of Raw food, the benefits of local and organic, Food awareness, Emotional Intelligence, and anything else I love that benefits me because it benefits me. Those who require assistance and “make the call” will, those who are resistant are until they aren’t. As Ghandi said… “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Do what you love and love what you do. Build your community where ever you are and amplify good. It seems to be an inside job.

    Thank you Kevin for all you and Annmarie do!
    ~ Blessings

  28. Brooke says:

    We need to take the crony capitalism out of government before something like this could ever start to happen. The corporations are in charge of the government regulatory institutions right now (think Monsanto and the USDA, Pfizer and FDA, the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Secretary, etc.) and I would hate to see how they would manipulate the natural health and foods industry. The government really needs to stay out of people’s lives. If they did that, we wouldn’t be in the position we are today – socially and economically. Their economic planning and manipulations have given us our choices. Sure, we have a lot of choices in soap and toilet paper and magazines, but we don’t have very many choices when it comes to local, organic food. The people with the solutions were pushed out by the crony capitalists. Government is never the answer to a problem like this….

  29. nils says:

    thanks for ure effort.

  30. nils says:

    im from germany. in general european people are health conscious. a lot people have gardens.
    walmart .29 a box so sad. u know its also the art-work on the packages.

    ameria is a basket from all places arctic people european natives, asian african….
    keep alive with little joy for.n0.29dollar.

    its sad….

    today i saw juicing for homeless on youtube …..
    cry more often.

    eat less superfoods and share more.
    use more easy weeds.
    try permaculture

  31. Cindy says:

    I really like the idea of school gardens. This would help the kids get involved by growing it, harvesting it, preparing it, & then eating it. I also think all junk foods should have an extra fee added to them, which would hopefully deter people from buying them.

    While I’m all for the two ideas I just mentioned, I also think that it comes down to family tradition. I’ve noticed in my own family & my husband’s family, that with each generation, there is less & less cooking skills being taught & handed down. My mom & dad were both good cooks, but they didn’t teach me or my siblings anything about cooking. Therefore, it was easier to eat junk foods & fast foods because they were convenient & I didn’t know how to cook or even like to cook. I still don’t like to cook, but I make healthier choices like throwing things in a blender for a quick smoothie.

  32. Velda says:

    Bill K – good insight. I so agree. Also, let each choose his own diet. If some prefer to eat beef or meat, then find the healthiest beef or meat. If some want their SAD diet, then they have a right to it. Some people know what a good diet does for you and simply want to eat what they want to eat. There will always be those. However, I so agree with you approach.

    When my middle son was in grade school, he attended a school that not only had a garden, they had a little bit of live stock for the kids to attend to also. I loved it.

    Thanks for your insights

  33. Paul Palmer says:

    Hi Kevin

    I agree with. Gov’t is repsponsible for accountable behavior in the marketplace. Let’s label GMOs, irradiated foods;sugar, fat, sodium content, etc.) It can create incentives and disincentives through the right taxes and subsidies. It can educate (don’t hold your breath on that one!).

    To continue trying to fix the problem after it has occured in health is unsustainable financially. Let’s move from sickness care to real health care.

  34. Thomas says:

    This article states that laughter is healthy for us:

    And this web site will show you where you can get plenty of good laughs:

    So maybe Kevin went into Walmart to get healthier . . . 🙂

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      @Thomas: LOL! We’ve seen a few of these people while were were traveling – since we have stopped at Walmart parking lots overnight. I can’t visit that site anymore though because I feel bad that those people are being exploited. When it first came out, my first reaction was admittedly laughter, but now I don’t feel the same. 🙂


  35. Steph P says:

    I believe in less government…period. This is a slippery slope Kevin…having anyone control what you eat. The Feds idea of a healthy diet may be totally different from what you would like. Just look at the the way they try to squash the natural health industry and push chemotherapy. They don’t outlaw ciggerettes…..the biggest cause of health care cost by far. They use our tax dollars to prop up Big Ag and Big Pharm..stopping this and using the $ to support organic foods for all would be the first place to start. People will always find ways to abuse themselves if that is what they want. Just look at what prohibition brought. Those who choose to do so should not be allowed cheap or publicly funded health care. I have sympathy for those who fall on hard tmes. But I agree with Anna. There are many who just take advantage and some tough love may be the best thing for them. Cut the apron strings ..when they grow up..maybe make better choices.

    • Kevin Gianni Kevin Gianni says:

      @Steph: I think we’re talking about the same thing here. “They use our tax dollars to prop up Big Ag and Big Pharm..stopping this and using the $ to support organic foods for all would be the first place to start.” This requires public policy… 🙂


  36. karin says:

    YOU SHOULD NOT WANT THE GOVERNMENT INVOLVED IN REGULATING STUFF!!! They mess up everything they touch. the raw movement is doing a great job spreading the facts through movies and dvd’s. You can’t force people to change overnight. It will take time, but things will change as the information gets out. things are way better than when i was a kids. gtg

  37. alex says:

    i think kevin is right on and looking at the big picture. too often us health fooders get caught up in this bubble and don’t see it… and to those of you who don’t think it applies, more than likely it does. we would have to be blind not to see why people eat what they eat… not everyone can afford to be raw or organic. not everyone has the luxury of time to even prepare meals when there are kids involved and multiple jobs just to get by.

    i think some people need a reality check and step outside of whatever bubble they’re in. as kevin said, unless we approach this on the very level that created this, there will be no solution. if “government ruined it” then you better believe government needs to be addressed. action needs to be taken on a grander scale, regulations need to be changed, enforced, created, etc. it requires a substantial shift in the way the economy runs.

    its very cute trying to preach organic and raw gourmet to someone who is barely surviving with a family, but unless its made accessible to them, your efforts are in vain.

  38. Esther says:

    Great topic Kevin!
    I share the experience of many others here in attempting to share the power of our food choices in our personal and collective health and wellness.
    Over the past 30 years I have come to understand that challenging the food choices of an individual is often perceived as a threat to their worldview and my energies are best invested in shifting my own consciousness and living my truth.
    Change in any human society occurs one individual at a time until a critical mass is reached and we experience a collective shift.
    The choices of a few enlightened souls can and will change the world – one apple at a time.
    I remember buying organic produce in the 80’s at twice the price of today – it was a huge sacrifice financially to make those choices, but I was convinced that for every dollar I spent on organics was a dollar invested in our collective future.
    Today we can find organic produce in all major grocery story chains – this is a wonderful thing and a tangible reminder to me that we create our reality with every thought and choice we make.
    I will leave the politics of policy to those called to that path – I will continue to work to support my local farmers with my money, time and light!

  39. Bryant says:

    Wow, thank you for writing and sharing this!

  40. Aimee says:

    There is definitely a need to amend policies all around the world. Here in Australia, we have our priorities all the wrong way around. The cost/benefit ration takes precedence over all else. Access to good quality, fresh fruit and vegetables is not a certainty for everyone and, like you said, some people are simply glad to be able to feed their children. Changing the government is such a hard task, but we can only try and hope that we can make a difference within our lifetime.

  41. Matt says:

    Are you available for a brief interview?

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