This may surprise you, but pushing dietary change on society is not on my to-do list.
Change is difficult, and this is a big change. Maybe I can affect change with a few individuals here and there. Hopefully I can get people to at least think about the food they eat. But changing the minds of the masses is not going to happen easily.
One of the problems is getting everybody on board. I'm often amazed at the firmness of peoples' beliefs in food. Many are staunchly rooted in beliefs. It's very similar to politics. "I believe we can eat everything in moderation," "Plant based diets are proven to be the best for us," or "We just need to stop stuffing food into our faces and get off our butts and exercise!" You can argue science all you want, but most of these people have absolutely no ear for your thoughts.
Our society also values compromise. We compromise in politics, in labor relations, and in day-to-day business relationships. You give a little and I give a little. We meet in the middle. But sometimes the middle is a dangerous place. Nutrition may be one of those dangerous places. I have no doubt that compromise will rule the day.
Then there's the problem of feeding people. One thing that becomes clear is that food output will drop. Our food supply is artificially high. Letting it grow naturally will reduce food quantity, and probably by a lot. But that's what limiting the food supply does. It controls population levels. What is a sustainable national and world population level? How long can we spend modifying our food supply? Will people want to wait? War?
The real problems become apparent when you start thinking about changing investment: I want all grain farms to become livestock farms. I want all 200 million acres switched over. Never mind finding the cows to populate them. I want all grass-fed animals; no grain fed animals will be allowed to be sold. All those cereal factories will need to be converted to slaughterhouses. All those grain carriers will need to be converted to cattle cars. And there's much more beyond this. Fertilizer will not be needed. Pesticides will be banned. Food will grow where it will despite the weather and pests. Famine will happen naturally. We won't be able to store mountains of broccoli like we store grains.
Are you seeing the problems yet? Are we going to hurt society by pushing these radical ideas? Learn to manage your diabetes. It's not going away.
I wondered what it would be like if I were the President of the United States of America trying to convince our Senate to move our grain based food system to a system that supports the new Atkins Diet: grass-fed meats and veggies.
[senator from Illinois] Mr. President, my state grows mostly corn and soybeans. You can drive from top to bottom or side to side, and you will find mostly farm fields. We have over 76,000 farms in this great state. Our agricultural revenue is about $9 billion a year.Are you saying you want all of these farms converted to raising only livestock and dairy?
[President John] Yes I am.
[senator from Illinois] We are already a big producer of meat and dairy. About $2 billion of farm revenue comes from swine. It takes 5 to 7 pounds of grain to raise one pound of meat. If you take away all of our corn, we won't be able to feed our pigs!
[President John] You won't need to feed them. They will root for themselves.
[senator from Illinois] But sir, even if we could transform over 50,000 farms to livestock, our production volume will be severely impaired without feed grains.
[President John] Yes they will be. If you are good, and you are not hit with much disease, you will be able to raise about a tenth of the population per acre as before. But sir, you will also be able to charge more money for your product, your citizens will be healthier which will reduce your health care costs, and they will be happier and more productive.
[senator from Illinois] They will also starve! If they don't go crazy. How do I convince the people of my great state to give up popcorn?
[President John] They will learn to enjoy bacon and cheese curds..
[senator from Illinois] My citizens will revolt. They may even pack up and move to Wisconsin!
[President John] They better learn to like cheese then.
[senator from Wisconsin] I don't appreciate the remark sir. My state produces much more than cheese.
[President John] Not anymore.
[senator from Wisconsin] Sir?
[President John] Your farms will all be converted to dairy farms. You can grow hay to feed them.
[senator from Wisconsin] Sir?
[President John] Well, you will also be able to grow some barley for your breweries. You can have one micro-brewery for every 100,000 citizens. We need to minimize the gluten exposure.
[senator from North Dakota] Don't worry Jim, we'll sell you all the barley you need.
[President John] I'm sorry Pete, but North Dakota will become a bison producer.
[senator from North Dakota] Oh?
[President John] Wild Bison is one of the healthiest foods on the planet!
[senator from North Dakota] Wild sir?
[President John] Yes. Your state will be one big farm. Bison will run free everywhere in North Dakota. Your farmers will need to learn how fire a rifle while riding horses.
[senator from North Dakota] Horses sir?
[President John] Kentucky thoroughbreds.
[senator from Kentucky] Sir, you want to use thoroughbreds for Buffalo hunting?
[President John] Yes I do.
[senator from Kentucky] They are fine horses sir, but they are bred primarily for racing.
[President John] Horse racing will be banned for the next eight years. We need all the horses to harvest our great herds.
[senator from Wyoming] Sir, there are only about half a million bison in American stocks. This is not enough to feed a state let alone a nation. You'll wipe them out completely!
[President John] Stem cells.
[senator from Wyoming] Stem cells sir?
[President John] Sorry, it's classified.
[senator from Kansas] Mr. President, what about our wheat, surely you aren't going to ...
[President John] Bison.
[senator from Kansas] Sir?
[President John] Every state west of the Mississippi that can support Bison will. Every other state west of the Mississippi will raise beef cattle, except for California.
[senator Arnold] Sir, California is an agricultural state
[President John] And so it shall be.
[senator Arnold] What do you want us to grow sir?
[President John] Salads: tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, celery, radishes
[senator Arnold] Sir, California is too warm for radishes.
[President John] Failure is not an option!
[senator from Utah] Sir, the state of Utah is a mjor producer of fertilizer. This plan will put many jobs at risk.
[President John] We will lose all 33,000 jobs in fetilizer production.
[senator from Utah] But sir, our great state cannot support quantities of livestock.
[President John] Don't worry Mike. We expect most of your citizens to move out or die off. National Park Utah will be the ultimate getaway destination.
[senator from Utah] The ultimate?
[President John] It will be one of the few states not overcome by the stench of animal feces.
[senator from Utah] Thank you sir *smirk*
[President John] When the wind is from the west.
[senator from Utah] *scowl*
[senator from New York] Excuse me Mr. President, but I don't see how this plan will feed our population. You are cutting our food supply by at least half,
[President John] Our obesity crisis will be instantly solved.
[senator from New York] But Mr. President, a hungry nation is not a happy nation. It is not a healthy nation!
[President John] We have a three step plan for this very situation. In phase one all the illegal immigrants will be put on ships and sent to India.
[senator from Arizona] I applaud your sentiment sir, but what makes you think India will take millions of Mexicans?
[President John] I don't.
[senator from Arizona] Then how will they get to India sir?
[President John] They probably won't.
[senator from Arizona] Were will they go then sir?
[President John] Once they leave our territorial waters, it's out of our hands. The second phase of the plan will be to take over Mexico.
[The Senate] Whaaaaat?
[President John] I know it's not prime land, but it will supply enough coconut oil and chickens for our needs.
[senator from Arizona] Will it be enough to feed the Mexicans and us?
[President John] What Mexicans?
[senator from Arizona] What Mexicans? *hah* I suppose they are going on ships too?
[President John] If we have extra.
[senator from Arizona] Well who's going to raise all these chickens and coconuts?
[President John] I'm thinking Oregonians, but we haven't decided yet. We might just use New Englanders. They like to travel to Mexico.
[senator from Lousiana] I like your plan Mr. President. This will stop fertilizer from polluting the gulf. Our fisheries can make a comeback!
[President John] Exactly Mickey, but you will lose your pesticide indtustries.
[senator from Florida] But Mr. President, we need pesticides to protect our orange crops!
[President John] That's not a healthy way to raise oranges sir. You will have to use manual labor to remove pests.
[senator from Florida] Manual labor? But you are shipping all the Mexicans away!
[President John] Canadians.
[senator from Florida] Canadians Mr. President?
[President John] Phase three. Most Canadians have homes in Florida anyway.
[senator from Maine] And what will you do with Canada sir?
[President John] Beef, seafood, and exotic meats.
[senator from Maine] Exotic meats sir?
[President John] Yes, exotic meats. Moose, elk, beaver. You like to eat beaver, don't you?